Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground


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The original quaternity arises from the One which is, so to speak, the centre. We could, therefore, imagine a section of the trunk, with the One in the centre and the four principles, which are usually represented as the elements radiating outwards. It is from this basic structure that the prima materia comes. It is als o represented as coming from a mountain, from the mines, as it were, in which the miners work.

And this mountain is called "the mountain where there are no differences. Naturally there are differences outside, or we should be unable to perceive anything.

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And it is inside the mountain and inside things in general that the prima materia is to be found, hidden in caves, stones, plants , animals and so on. In the inner darkness nothing can be discriminated, and this is the place where we are unconscious. This drives us to the conclusion that the mountain is the human being.

Nothing can be discriminated in the unconscious, anything can be anything, there are no differences. For the same reason the prima materia is said to come from Hades, or it can be experienced there, for Hades is a black hole without an outlet. Under certain conditions living people can descend into Hades, but it does not agree with them. One must really be dead to go there, for it is the dark land where the dead are imprisoned; and this is a place from which this marvellous substance comes. On another side we find a category of definitions where the prima materia is not really a substance but rather a substance which contains an agent.

That is, it has a force or other kind of substance in itself. The prima materia, therefore, is said to arise from the centre. To put it more simply: the prima materia can be won from the centre of a stone or substance, but then it is no longer designated as a substance but as an agent. It is said, for instance, to be extracted as a round being, a sphere or as a "round fish from our sea". A living being, therefore, from the great sea of the unconscious. So apparently there is a centre or active. This centre or activity is understood, on the one hand, as having been created by God, and on the other as an "increatum"; that is, as something noncreated, "radix ip sius" root of itself , autonomous and eternal.

The prima materia is "aeterna", "incorruptibilis", "incremabilis" incombustible , "perpetua" and "permanens". It is spoken of as if it were a sort of hypostatic substance, if one may use such a term, which is of an eternal nature and not under the laws of time and change. This does not refer to the prima materia in its material form, of course, for it is the substance which is changed and transformed by the alchemistic process, but it refers to the centre of the prima materia.


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It is this centre which is unchanging, eternal, and somehow outside space and time. Therefore the prima materia is called "monad", "ens reale" and "forma interna", that is, it is the inner form which gives things their existence, and is, therefore, the cause of all existence. It is "principium individuatonis" the principle of individuation for there is only individual existence, that is all we can distinguish, and we cannot assert that anything exists which we are unable to distinguish. So the prima materia is called the "genius generativus" the creating genius , and is also personified as the "filius macrocosmi" the son of the universe.

It follows as a matter of course, after all we have heard, that the alchemists should call the prima materia a "divine mystery, given by God. And this being has body, soul and spirit, and is, therefore, the principle of life itself, as well as the principle of individuation. Its nature is spiritual, it cannot be seen, and it contains an invisible image. But it is "veritas invisibilis, mente sola percepta" the invisible truth, only perceived by the mind and "fons immortalitatis" an immortal fountain.

As I said before, human designations are also used for the prima materia. It is called "virgo" virgin , or "rex " king , or is represented as both together in a hermaphroditic or androgynous being. The insistence of the alchemists on the bi-sexual quality of the prima materia emphasises again the idea of the union of the opposites. This means that all the paradoxes, which split and tear the world apart, are united in this being; they must be united or it would not be eternal. By virtue of its eternity it contains no conflicts, tension or irreconciled opposites, and therefore it can no longer be changed.

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It is because of this that the alchemists say that once their "stone" is established it can never be destroyed. Therefore it can only be produced once in a human life, not repeatedly, because it is eternal. The alchemists also called it "spiritus Dei in scintilla" the spirit of God in the spark , and it was thought to be not only in man but also in nature, in everything which had an individual form, in every stone, plant and animal. They also speak of this being as "contrafactus Christi" an imitation of Christ and as " filius macrocosmi" son of the universe. As such it is really God, and the alchemists make the following distinction: The Christian God is a Trinity consisting of three persons, God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and of one nature see upper diagram on p.

The "filius macrocosmi", therefore, is the exact opposite of the Christian God. For psychological reasons, we must expect the most powerful of all human ideas: God represented in Christianity as a threefold personality to have a corresponding opposite, a mirror image, so to speak, reflecting the other side. If not, God would be entirely one-sided. And indeed such reflections are to be found in Christianity itself in the tricephalous quality of the devil.

Dante; for instance, describes the devil as having three heads. We read in the thirty-fourth canto of the Inferno: "Oh what a sight! How passing strange it seemed, when I did spy up on his head three faces: one in front of hue vermillion, the other two with this, midway each shoulder joined and at the crest. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Johfra Bosschart - The Son of the Snakes. This is the so-called "Treatise of Aristotle", a treatise written in the form of a letter from Aristotle to Alexander [the real Aristotle was the teacher of King Alexander. Heroes have snake's eyes Nordic: ormr i auga , are half man half serpent Kekrops, Erechtheus , have snake-souls and snake's skin; the medicine-man can change into all sorts of animals. Jung on the snake as earth demon, as savior, and as time. I turn now to one last aspect of the snake, actually already contained in the preceding one: the snake as a time symbol.

It is the snake that is Chronos, Greek for time. It is the ring of coming into being, the one and all. As Oceanos or Jordan it is the humid substance, and nothing in the world—immortal or mortal—can exist without it. Everything is subject to it, and it itself is good, and, just as in the horn of the one0horned bull Moses , it embraces the beauty of all other things. When it changes, the latter is the former, and again the former, when it changes, is the latter.

The Indian god of creation Prajapati, too, is the world year. We have also heard that Philo regarded it as immortal. So that is probably also the reason why it is in possession of the herb of immortality. In Mithraism one has also found the figure of a god with a lion head, on whom a snake winds upward, laying its head upon his. He is the god Aion or Zervan, the god of eternal duration. Similarly, in Kundalini yoga the snake, climbing up the spine and touching the various chakras in a temporal development, stands for the vital force by which man is simultaneously put into the course of time.

It stands for nature in contrast to the spirit, yet at the same time it is the principle leading to the lapis, to perfection beyond nature. It is quite impossible to bring some order into the whole wealth of this material, and still harder to interpret the meaning and the real essence of the snake as a symbol. When I stressed three main aspects—the snake as earth demon, as savior, and as time symbol—this was just an attempt to organize the many aspects. When the snake appears in a dream, you basically have to take into account all three aspects. Its eyes sparkling like diamonds could be an indication that the snake does after all possess the diamond, the lapis, carrying it in its head, whereby it would not only have the pure, negative instinctual characteristic, but also, as seems to be indicated, the possibility of higher consciousness.

The glowing eyes are easy to explain. As has often been said, the snake is connected with the secret fire; it carries within itself the punctum igneitatis of self-destruction; it is also in connection with the fiery lion. Mercury is the kyllenian fire, and many dragons in mythology are fire-spitting monsters; all of this has to do with the fact that it dwells in the depths of the earth, psychologically speaking, that it has to do with the sphere of emotional outbreaks, with the drives.

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You may remember the vision of St. Ignatius, from the lecture at the beginning of this summer, to whom a snake with many eyes appeared after rigorous ascetic exercises. He says that a certain something appeared to him, beautiful and great, greatly comforting him. Sometimes it would have been a snake full of sparkling eyes, although it was not eyes. Later he interprets this as a vision of the devil, and wards it off. Argus, too, is such a dragon figure with innumerable eyes. This multiplicity of eyes may be connected with the multiplicity of subliminal perceptions: man is, so to speak, more clear-sighted in the unconscious than in the conscious, and, above all, sees into many more directions simultaneously.

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In any case the child supposes this, because she is frightened. Because she flees the snake, the latter chases her, for it just wants to get near her. Obviously, it wants to unite with her in one form or another, and chases her as far as into her bedroom, that is, into her most intimate living space.

The girl rejects it, however, being frightened by its instinctual, negative, demonic aspect. This is interpreted as possession by a demon. So we might assume that the dreamer has a conscious attitude that cannot accept this power the snake stands for, a so-called Christian attitude, which, of course, can only be the result of the milieu; or else a too orderly, well-behaved, rational scope of consciousness, which naturally provokes, attracts, and at the same time rejects the snake as its counterpart.

If she cannot accept it, the snake will probably poison her and create a flood, that is, an inundation of her consciousness with unconscious images. For the rest, it can be said of the problem that the child faces a rather common situation, which makes a solution more likely. The snake is a symbol of the creative unconscious. It is [a] healing [symbol]. The Snake with many Eyes. He was able to perceive no form, however, and so he did not know what it was or what it consisted of; but sometimes it appeared to him to take the shape of a serpent which was full of shining eyes, although they were really not eyes.

The sight of this vision filled him with the greatest delight, and the oftener it appeared the greater was the comfort with which he saw it and when it disappeared from before his eyes he was sad. As a budding monk Ignatius would naturally have preferred another figure, a guardian angel, Christ or the Virgin Mary but awkwardly enough the actual vision was a snake, full of eyes, a vision which was not at all orthodox.

There are Biblical analogies, the snake in paradise, for instance, but there the snake is interpreted as the devil. Another snake is the healing snake of Moses. Christ says: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up". III We sometimes find the symbol of the serpent instead of Christ on the cross in the Middle Ages and it appears in alchemy but apparently Ignatius was not acquainted with this fact, or he would certainly Have claimed the snake as Christ.

Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground
Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground
Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground
Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground
Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground
Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground

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