Mysticism, Time

On Antimony ♁ , or, The Inversion of Venus

Every body may give forth from it self, the good or evil,
Venome or Medicine latent in it…

Therefore, you are to know, that in Antimony also there is a Spirit,
which effects whatsoever in it, or can proceed from it,
in an invisible way and manner, no otherwise,
than as in the Magnet is absconded a certain invisible power…

[T]he efficacious Spirit, and operative power of Antimony,
manifests its gifts, and distributes them among Men,
being first loosed from its own body,
and freed from all its bonds, so, that it is able to penetrate,
and render fit to be applyed to those Uses,
which the Artificer proposed to himself in Preparation.

Basilius Valentinius, The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony, 1604


Women’s demonstration for bread and peace – March the 8th, 1917, Petrograd, Russia (Source: Wikipedia)

Happy International Women’s Day!

Did you know that the global celebration of women began with the International Socialist Women’s Conference in 1910? Or that the active participation of Russia’s women workers in 1917, who celebrated this day with a strike against hunger and World War 1, unintentionally brought on the October (Bolshevik) Revolution, the creation of the USSR, and the gruesome “Red Terror” slaughter of between 40 and 66 million of their fellow Russian citizens?

Alexandra Kolontai, a feminist leader of the socialist revolution, wrote about the fact and about the 8th March .. “The Women Workers’ Day on the 8th March 1917 was a memorable day in history. The revolution of February had just begun.”

[Leon] Trotski wrote, “23 February (8th March) was International Woman’s Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in [the] morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets.”

It is, alas, a tragedy unsurprising, that the noble, virtuous and peaceful, mother’s-love intentions of Russia’s women workers were used, manipulated and abused, by and for others’ – the Artificers’ – malicious and malevolent ends.

Such has long been the sine qua non of the alchemist in the art of words and letters; that is to say, the Cabalist:

The Cabala has been interpreted as a means of understanding the cosmos, the emanations of God, “the framework of practical magic,” but also as a psychological technique.

Cabala and alchemy are comparable in their methods of manipulation; the former lexical, the latter elemental. The transmutation of letters to their prime state can be seen as parallel to the alchemical discipline of transmutation of metals to their base elements.

I would like, if I may, to mark this International Women’s Day with some reflections, of a paradoxical nature.

That is to say, reflections on the coincidentia oppositorum. The union of opposites.

And perhaps, more importantly, on what is understood, just quietly, by ancient through post-modern alchemists, as the “law of inversion.”

Or, as lords of the left-hand path might say, the law of reversal.

Hermetic silence - emblem from Achille Bocchi Symbolicarum quaestionem de universo genere, 1574

Hermetic silence – Achille Bocchi, Symbolicarum quaestionem de universo genere, 1574. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

I am motivated to do so by my deep concern for the future, indeed, the survival of the human race; and, in particular, my concern for the very essence, the principle, the “efficacious Spirit”, of the Mother nature in the Female of the human species:

If someone had told you 10 years ago that it would soon become tantamount to a speechcrime to say ‘Men cannot get pregnant’, you would have thought them mad. That would be like punishing someone for saying, ‘Humans need oxygen to survive’. And yet here we are, in 2017 [2018], where PC has spun so violently out of control, and the cult of gender-neutrality has become so unwieldy, that one of the most controversial things you can say these days is: ‘Only women can get pregnant.’

We are living through a collapse of the most basic moral and biological categories of speech and understanding. Avoiding offence is now prized more highly than physical reality and truth. And one of the worst consequences of this rush to institute trans terminology — above the heads of a mostly bamboozled populace — is the erasure of womanhood. The very term ‘women’ is in serious danger.

The idea of womanhood, the terminology of womanhood, is being erased from public life. We are effectively saying there is nothing special or distinctive about being a woman. Anyone can be a woman, simply by declaring it. We can dress this up as much as we like in the language of tolerance and open-mindedness but it strikes me as plain old misogyny to treat womanhood as such a casual, easily achieved thing.

I put it to you, dear reader, that this is not an accident.

Rather, it is the intended result of lexical transformations.


It is the result of alchemy.

Alchemy practiced on the mind matter of human nature.

The Female nature, in particular.

Consider the words of Edward Bernays, founder of the ‘modern’ alchemical art of “Public Relations” – or, to use the title of his own book, the art of “Propaganda”:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

The erasure of womanhood is the intentional result of “those Uses which the Artificer proposed to himself,” in setting his skills to work on the mind matter of Venus – of Mother Love herself.


[O]f the highest things the lowest are made,
and the lowest the highest,
so that, a Medicament is produced of Venome,
and of Venome Medicine;
of the sweet, bitter, acid, and corrosive;
and on the contrary of the corrosive,
another thing more profitable.


Previously, I have written at length explaining and evidencing the history, and method, of the adepts in the art of Hermes the trickster god, and his magnetically-attractive “golden chains of eloquence”.

Simply, the ancient art of lying, and cheating.

Copy of copy of original_NOT by Durer

“Allegory of Eloquence”, Albrecht Dürer, c. 1498. (British Museum)

Today, I would like to draw your attention to an alchemical symbol with which you will most likely be quite familiar – the symbol of the female, Venus (copper) – and its exact symbolic opposite, inversion, or reversal, antinomy .

French alchemist and esoteric author Fulcanelli conceived antimony as “a chaos, the foster mother of all metals.” Sendovogius (1659) spoke of it as “the womb and reef of gold and the seedbed of its tincture.” Chevalier and Gheerant (Dictionary of Symbols) inform us that antimony “was also held to be ‘the bastard child of Saturn; passionately loved by Venus’.”


It is Venome and a most swift poison,
also it is void of Venome
and a most excellent Medicine…


Soon you will see why.

Antimony is a lustrous, brittle, blue-white crystal, one of six commonly recognised metalloids; that is, a chemical element with liminal properties, in between metals and non-metals, or a mixture of both.  It has been known since ancient times, found in nature in a toxic, compound form called stibnite (antimony trisulphide). Stibnite is a lead-grey (Saturn ) colour, tarnishing to black or iridescent with exposure to air, but when polished, turning white.

Known as كحل “kohl” in Arabic, powdered stibnite has been used in the Middle East, North Africa and Mediterranean regions since 3100 BC as a cosmetic, to darken the eyelids, lashes and brows. Roman historian and naturalist Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) mentions several other names, including the “very common” platyophthalmos, “wide-eye” (from the effect). Kohl (from which comes the English alcohol) is blue in colour.

In Biblical Hebrew, kohl is known as כָּחַל kâchal. It is mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel (23:40) as the eye paint of Hebrew whores. Along with the modern Israeli Hebrew word כחול \ כָּחֹל kaḥól (blue“), these words all derive from a common Semitic root, k-ḥ-l.

Curiously, according to the Talmudic midrash Numbers Rabbah 14:3 (cf. Exodus 24:10, Ezekiel 1:26), a sapphire blue, not unlike that of the modern Israeli flag – a darker shade than the biblical blue of holy garments (תְּכֵלֶת tchélet) – is seen in rabbinic tradition as symbolising God’s Glory and purity, and his Gevurah (severity, judgement).

Bearing in mind what we have learned previously about the alchemists’ all-important “Rebus” (punning) principle, it is interesting to consider also the Hebrew word קָהָל qâhâl or kahal, meaning a convoked (“called out”) group or assembly “for evil counsel, war or invasion, religious [judicial] purposes”. Kahal is the name for the theocratic organisational structure in ancient Hebrew society, and, in later centuries, the title of Ashkenazi Jews’ autonomous governments, notably in Poland and Tsarist Russia.  These became the subject of some notoriety when Jacob Brafmann, a 19th century Russian Jew who converted to Orthodoxy, authored two books (The Book of the Kahal, and The Local and Universal Jewish Brotherhoods), claiming the kahal was “an international network under the control of the Alliance Israélite Universelle and had as its aim undermining Christian entrepreneurs, taking over their property and ultimately seizing power.”

It is also of coincidental interest that in popular (folk) etymology, antimony (from Greek ἀντίμοναχός anti-monachos or possibly French antimoine) means monk-killer.

Returning then to antimony as an ancient eye cosmetic, associated both with female nobility and royalty (Egyptian) and also with whores (Hebrew), readers of my previous essays (here, here, here) will recall that alchemical (and Cabalist) lore is radically misogynous at its core. The universe, and every thing in it, is conceived as being a union or “sacred marriage” of opposite principles – Male and Female ‘genders’ – wherein the Male is identified with all that is Good, and the Female with all that is Evil.

For the alchemist, the Female aspect, present in all things, is “represented by every conceivable repulsive female figure — by witches, mixers of poison, whores, chthonic goddesses, by the ‘dragon mother’ so often cited in depth psychology. All these are metaphors for the demonic nature of the feminine.'”

In order to achieve the alchemists’ (and Cabalists’) ultimate goal – the transformation of himself into a god – he must first destroy the autonomous existence of the ‘evil’ female principle, stealing her gynergy or feminine birth-force powers in the process, in order to “absorb the Mother of the Universe into himself” and so become an androgynous superMan:

Experimenting around with the primal material sounds quite harmless to someone who is not initiated. Yet a symbolic murder is hidden behind this. The black matter, a symbol of the fundamental feminine and of powerful nature from which we all come, is burned or in some cases vaporized, cut to pieces or dismembered. Thus, in destroying the prima materia we at the same time destroy our “mother” or, basically, the “fundamentally feminine”.

Mylius, Philosophia Reformata, 1622_slay dragon mother

J.D. Mylius, Philosophia Reformata, 1622. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

Naturally, the sensible female is hardly likely to go along with such malevolent designs.

Thus, the alchemists’  ‘need’ for the art of deception.


And a mercurial (quicksilver) tongue:

Since at the end of the sexual magic rituals the masculine principle alone remains, the verbal praise of the goddess, beauty and love () could also be manipulative, designed to conjure up the devotion of a woman.

[W]e must regard such charming flattery of the female sex as at the very least a non-committal, albeit extremely lucrative embellishment. But they are more likely to be a deliberately employed manipulation, so as to draw attention away from the monstrosities of the .. ritual system. Perhaps they are themselves a method (upaya) with which to appropriate the “gynergy” of the women so charmed.

On this International Women’s Day, let us remember how this celebration of women came to be.

Let us remember how actions borne of virtuous female hearts – the Mother’s love, the beauty of the nurturing, life-giving feminine, of Venus in all her glory – were transformed from a protest against hunger and war, into the catalyst for more.

By many orders of magnitude.

Let us remember, and never forget, the alchemists, the Cabalists, and their clever philosophistries.

Their “royal art” of deception.

Seeking to destroy the autonomous existence of the Female – to steal the essence, the very principle of Woman herself.

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens series_AF01

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

By the inversion of values.

Lying and cheating.


The circle – is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol, and strengthen – and do not sever ourselves from the most perceptible of its aspects: Lies.

When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: “I am violence. Run away, make way for me – I will crush you.” But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally – since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies – all loyalty lies in that.

And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right there: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Live Not By Lies




Adam McLean, Basil Valentine: His Triumphant Chariot of Antimony, with Annotations of Theodore Kirkringus (1678), transcribed by Ben Fairweather (accessed 8 March 2018)

World March of Women International Secretariat, 8th of March – International woman’s day: in search of the lost memory, 13 March 2011 (accessed 8 March 2018, web archive copy)

Brendan O’Neill, The word ‘woman’ is being erased from public life, Spectator Magazine, 23 October 2017 (accessed 8 March 2018)

Jean Chevalier & Alain Gheerant, Dictionary of Symbols, Blackwell Publishers (1994)