Creating The Alchemical Meat Puppet
, Mandrake, Homunculi and The Voynich Manuscript:
This is an interesting print. I realize that the man is probably just a mandrake farmer.
But taking the symbolic route I find it interesting if you compare this to other common
images of 'The Fool' from the same era.
I find it interesting that in the case of the Mandrake print the dog is not chasing the
Fool but has stopped to have some water. Maybe to have a drink of 'wisdom'. And there
stands the Fool as confounded as ever.
Before I begin this post I would like to offer that it takes a lot of years and dedication
to be able to come up with nutty ideas like this. So with your tongue now firmly pressed to
cheek let's begin.
When I look at the Voynich Manuscript, and I have been looking a lot (like all of you), a
couple of thematic elements seem to pop for me. Conception, Repetition and possibly
Transmutation. I see a book that has been compiled for a person or people who are already
familiar with the subject matter. As though the book will provide a new revelation only for
someone who is already steeped in the knowledge that the text is based on.
To put it shortly I am beginning to think that this is an Alchemical (or somehow proto-alchemical) treatise on the creation of a Homunculus in the
Animal Kingdom. But not just any Homunculus. A heretofore unknown SuperHomunculus. Yes, possibly even a perfected Homunculus that can do stuff our
(possibly paradigmatically crippled) un-'perfected' human bodies cannot. I would like to offer this explanatory quote from 19th century occultist
Eliphas Levi (Alphonse Louis Constant) concerning Mandrake and Homunculi:
"... we will add a few words about mandragores (mandrakes) and androids, which several writers on magic confound with the waxen image; serving the
purposes of bewitchment. The natural mandragore is a filamentous root which, more or less, presents as a whole either the figure of a man, or that of
the virile members. It is slightly narcotic, and an aphrodisiacal virtue was ascribed to it by the ancients, who represented it as being sought by
Thessalian sorcerers for the composition of philtres. Is this root the umbilical vestige of our terrestrial origin ? We dare not seriously affirm it,
but all the same it is certain that man came out of the slime of the earth, and his first appearance must have been in the form of a rough sketch. The
analogies of nature make this notion necessarily admissible, at least as a possibility. The first men were, in this case, a family of gigantic,
sensitive mandragores, animated by the sun, who rooted themselves up from the earth ; this assumption not only does not exclude, but, on the contrary,
positively supposes, creative will and the providential co-operation of a first cause, which we have reason to call God. Some alchemists, impressed by
this idea, speculated on the culture of the mandragore, and experimented in the artificial reproduction of a soil sufficiently fruitful and a
sunsufficiently active to humanise the said root, and thus create men without the concurrence of the female. Others, who regarded humanity as the
synthesis of animals, despaired about vitalising the mandragore, but they crossed monstrous pairs and projected human seed into animal earth, only for
the production of shameful crimes and barren deformities. The third method of making the android was by galvanic machinery. One of these almost
intelligent automata was attributed to Albertus Magnus, and it is said that St Thomas (Thomas Aquinas) destroyed it with one blow from a stick because
he was perplexed by its answers. This story is an allegory; the android was primitive scholasticism, which was broken by the Summa of St Thomas, the
daring innovator who first substituted the absolute law of reason for arbitrary divinity, by formulating that axiom which we cannot repeat too often,
since it comes from such a master: " A thing is not just because God wills it, but God wills it
because it is just. " The real and serious android of the ancients was a secret which they kept hidden from all eyes, and Mesmer was the first who
dared to divulge it; it was the extension of the will of the Magus into another body, organised and served by an elementary spirit; in more modern and
intelligible terms, it was a magnetic subject."
From:Transcendental Magic its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Levi.
Alchemical work within the Animal Kingdom is spoken about very little. As anyone who has
approached the subject of practical and theoretical Alchemy can tell you that the primary focus is on the Plant and Mineral Kingdoms. In fact some
might be surprised to hear about Alchemy in the Animal Kingdom at all. This is one of the reasons that Paracelsus was considered a loose cannon by his
What Levi seems to be saying here is that contemporary beliefs and practices having to do with Mandrake and the Homunculus or 'Android' are somehow
representative of a 'True" body of knowledge that exists concerning the 'True' nature of the Homunculus and how Mandrake is used to 'attain' it. He is
also stating rather clearly that the Homunculus or Android is to be inhabited by the operant. His spirit will take up residence in this new body.
In terms of repetition I would like to offer this: The 'Mothers' (they all seem to be pregnant) or 'Graces' seen repeated in groups are
representative of the new governing dynamic which is set in action by the consumption of the 'Philtre' created from the botanical and pharmacological
recipes in the manuscript. The "presence" of these "graces" around and about the effected biological structures are meant to represent their new
governing influence. I believe that the artist used these female forms as a way of generically representing the the 'Matter' of the subject and its
I believe that the plants that are shown may indeed be prototypical plants that differ from
the ones we know. But either way the recipe seems to require the entire Plant Magistery to get the job done. Also the astrological charts must have
made sense to someone. When it comes to Alchemy and Astrology and Astronomy it is important to understand the mindset of the guys working with this
stuff. Namely, Alchemists. To put it simply everything in our material universe lives in and IS a giant clock. When you look at it that way it makes
sense that it is better to do some kinds of work at certain times than others. Timing is everything. Even Manfred Junius, famous biologist and
practical Alchemist, has included an entire chapter on, 'The stars, days, hours and rhythm of the Planets' in his famous, Spagyrics
I would again like to point out the repetition of the 'Graces' in this image. I believe the artist is showing the same 'Matter' at different points in
I feel that the images in the very back of the manuscript which depict plants and what appear to me to be extraction devices (Athanor?) is an
appendix that somehow says, "I did it like this, You may or may not be inclined to do it the same way"
And finally I would like to suggest that the 'star maps' or astronomical images of the 'Coelestial Palaces', or whatever they are, may be rudimentary
illustrations of the types of vision and knowledge that the successful operant might be privy to. "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
Occult lore usually has something to say about the danger of 'crashing' different 'domains' without a little preparation and etiquette.
If you have made it this far I thank you for taking the time to entertain the ramblings of yet another poor soul who has been made mad by The Voynich
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Structure and Syntax
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