Mircea Eliade: Forgerons et alchimistes



Ven me a lot of tools to theorize about the world and the way we think and theorize about the world with Is it too much to ask for a book to be properly named Gah Sure this book treats alchemy for around 40% of its length but in its totality it s concerned with the religious consciousness of what Eliade precociously calls Homo faber or man ua tool user So for the first hundred pages of this 170 page book we take a survey of various mythological traditions from around the world associated with metals metallurgy mining and forging and unearth no pun intended a variety of interesting parallel motifs particularly with respect to the belief that metals and minerals row and ripen in the womb of the earth I m often troubled by Eliade s lack of theoretical reflectiveness in his comparative approach His typical modus operandi is to simply compare traditions without much concern for how parallels might be accounted for whether by diffusion collective unconscious or coincidence He tends to imply that parallel symbolic constructions point to universals not in the Jungian sense but perhaps some kind of a priori ontology that is known and expressed in religious forms around the world There may be a case for that but I m uncomfortable with the degree that Eliade typically implies this is oing on but does not make it the subject of scrutiny or reflection But I digress After this long intro Eliade spends precious little time surveying the alchemical traditions of China India the Arab world and Europe He scarcely pauses to raise let alone answer any of the deep problems associated by this most difficult of subjects in religious history Where did alchemy come from How do we account for the striking parallels between the various forms of alchemy that developed in remote civilizationsEliade principally interprets alchemy as a sub species of the religious concerns of Ho. E follows the ritualistic adventures of these ancient societies adventures rooted in the people's awareness of an awesome new powerThe new edition of The Forge and the Crucible con.

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The author Eliade is a recognized authority on myth He explains the primitive pre scientific beliefs about metals such as that metals like babies matured in the womb of Mother Earth until they reached maturity old Such ridiculous ideas as the ancients held are truly frightening when one realizes that infant sacrifice was used in early smithying worldwide The mind of the pagan is not one of clarity and Arabian Nights goodness but one of muddled facts and muddled worldview Thankoodness for the Enlightenment a European intellectual movement of the late 17th century through the 18th century emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition This a very anthropological account of alchemy as discourse and its evolution from tribal manifestations to present yoga traditions of all paths and cultures Eliade is a beautiful yet factual writer The book can Enchanting Baby (The Birth Place get repetitive with certain motifs but such is alchemy I enjoyed the read like I enjoy aood PBS special Admittedly Eliade is kind of strange to read because the book reads like a mosaic of random facts Each chapter often seems like a series of vaguely related ideas but after some thought the book coheres decently well The knowledge available on alchemy is worth its weight in Wild Nights with Her Wicked Boss gold forgive the joke and it seems to provideood possible answers to little kid uestions that I had about the mechanics of religions particularly to do with sacrificial ritesthemes and so forthThe book is Midsummer Night (Lady Julia Grey, good for anyone interested in comparative religion or anyone interested in why certain metaphors in our language may have come about it provides a basis for why up is assumed to be better whyods are often from the skies phallic symbols and so forth It also Always You gives some insight into why metals are holy or sacred and whyroups like the freemasons might have the nature they do This text really is a treasure chest of Wild at Heart (Sons of Chance, great ideas and hasi. Primitive man's discovery of the ability to change matter from one state to another brought about a profound change in spiritual behavior In The Forge and the Crucible Mircea Eliad.

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Mo faber That is it is part of the eneral mythology of man s catalyzation of the material of the world with the elements of inward transformation expressed in symbolic parallel to the energies of outward transformation of the material world It is an expression of man s function of world transformer in the religious idiom I was not won over by his approach which strikes me as too broad and too dependent on tenuous connections that he doesn t sufficiently establish The links between African rites of initiation for miners and Renaissance experiments in transmutation are to my mind extremely tenuous and doesn t establish a structural relationship He concludes with a theory about the continued existence of the essential character of alchemy in the form of materialist utopianism that I can hardly take seriously He spent so much time arguing for this unconvincing position that he scarcely dwelt upon the extremely compelling core problems of alchemy with its intense and uncanny imagery and its strangely cagey relationship to itself Alchemists seem to operate from a schizoid consciousness in which their operations are somehow simultaneously held as symbolic yet are also tied rigidly to a specious language of chemical manipulations It is as if the alchemist intentionally drives the creation of a turbulent contradiction as part of his art I don t know what to make of the whole thing really It is a deeply bizarre and confusing area of study and Eliade has only marginally illuminated it for me He is enerally much too uick to apply his ready made structures of initiation and the axis mundi and the hieros amos and all that and doesn t have the patience to excavate the material right in front of his eyes Another minor criticism the alchemical texts themselves are so deeply expressive and so compact it s odd that he provided so little in the way of direct uotation. Tains an updated appendix in which Eliade lists works on Chinese alchemy published in the past few years He also discusses the importance of alchemy in Newton's scientific evolutio.

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