isis unveiled: xiii (alchemy)

“The claims of the friends of esoteric science, that Paracelsus produced, chemically, homunculi from certain combinations as yet unknown to exact science, are, as a matter of course, relegated to the storehouse of exploded humbugs. But why should they? If the homunculi were not made by Paracelsus they were developed by other adepts, and that not a thousand years ago. They were produced, in fact, upon exactly the same principle as that by which the chemist and physicist calls to life his animalcula.

 Few years ago, an English gentlemen, Andrew Crosse, of Somersetshire produced acari in the following manner: “Black flint burned to redness and reduced to powder was mixed with carbonate of potash, and exposed to a strong heat for fifteen minutes; and the mixture was poured into a blacklead crucible in an air furnace. It was reduced to powder while warm, mixed with boiling water; kept boiling for some minutes, and then hydrochloric acid was added to supersaturation.

After being exposed to voltaic action for twenty-six days, a perfect insect of the acari tribe made its appearance, and in the course of a few weeks about a hundred more. The experiment was repeated with other chemical fluids with like results.”

A Mr. Weeks also produced the acari in ferrocyanide of potassium. This discovery produced a great excitement. Mr. Crosse was now accused of impiety and aiming at creation. He replied, denying the implication and saying he considered “to create was to form a something out of a nothing.”

Another gentlemen, considered by several persons as a man of great science, has told us repeatedly that he was on the eve of proving that even unfructified eggs could be hatched by having a negative electric current caused to pass through them.

The mandrakes (dudim or love-fruit) found in the field by Reuben, Jacob’s son, which excited the fancy of Rachel, was the kabalistic mandragora, notwithstanding denial; and the verses which refer to it belong to the crudest passages, in their esoteric meaning, of the whole work. The mandrake is a plant having the rudimentary shape of a human creature; with a head, two arms, and two legs forming roots. The superstition that when pulled out of the ground it cries with a human voice, is not utterly baseless. It does produce a kind of squeaking sound, on account of the resinous substance of its root, which it is rather difficult to extract; and it has more than one hidden property in it perfectly unknown to the botanist.

The reader who would obtain a clear idea of the commutation of forces and the resemblance between the life-principles of plants, animals, and human beings, may profitably consult a paper on the correlation of nervous and mental forces by Professor Alexander Bain, of the University of Aberdeen.

This mandragora seems to occupy upon earth the point where the vegetable and animal kingdoms touch, as the zoophites and polypi do in the sea; the boundary being in each case so indistinct as to make it almost imperceptible where the one ceases and the other begins.

It may seem improbable that there should be homunculi, but will any naturalist, in view of the recent expansion of science, dare say it is impossible? “Who”, says Bain, “is to limit the possibilities of existence?””

H. P. Blavatsky

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