— The Alchemist from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain.
From Regnum in Potentia:
In the Grail story, the hero Parzival comes upon the Grail castle by accident. He is on a quest for something else entirely, or so he thinks, although that object varies according to the version of the tale in question. However, at some point in his adventures, he comes across an old man fishing in a boat. He asks the man where he might find lodging for the night, and is pointed to a nearby castle with a tall tower. Only later does he discover that the man he spoke to was the lord of the castle and the king of the surrounding lands.
This is the Grail king, the “Rich Fisher” who lives on the food provided magically by the Grail, and rules by virtue of the power that it gives him. But his kingdom is sick, as he himself is sick, from a wound inflicted during battle with another king, to whom he is related biologically. Both the king and his kingdom are kept in a death-like dream state by the power of the Grail, but they suffer constantly because the king cannot be healed from his wound, called “the Dolorous Stroke.” The wound gets more painful when Saturn is ascendant in the heavens, and is said to be “in the thigh,” a phrase thought by many mythographers to be a euphemism for castration.
If this is so it might link him to Ouranos, the god-king who was castrated and dethroned by his son Chronos (Saturn). However, there are also many figures in mythology, including the Greek blacksmith god Hephaestus and the biblical patriarch Jacob, who became incurably wounded in the thigh at some point during their lives. The potential connection with Ouranos, though, is interesting, since this god, whom the Chaldeans called Oannes, was depicted by them as a man who was half-fish.
But none of the details of a holy myth are ever present by accident. There is a reason why Parzival is led to the Grail castle by a man in a fishing boat who turns out to be the king. That’s because it was really Parzival he was fishing for.
But really, the idea of “fishing for men” alludes to the concept of setting a trap, baiting someone and luring them in, where they will be captured, killed, and consumed. When the Fisher King is sitting out on his boat, waiting for someone like Parzival to come by so that he can encourage him to go to the Grail castle, he is playing the role of the Psychopompus. This is a label applied to Hermes the trickster god, who is both the initiator for adepts of alchemy , so too is he the guide of souls traveling to the Otherworld.
In these things, there is no contradiction. Initiation always involves being lured with false promises. The mysteries one seeks when one joins a mystical fraternity are never those which were initially sought after by the candidate. Indeed, the initiate may not have even known he was on a quest for enlightenment. He is going about his business one day, and something peaks his interest. He pulls on a thread and follows it all the way to the center of the labyrinth. Most of the people who make it there are but sacrifices, meant to be eaten by the Minotaur. In ancient societies, luring the sacrificial victim, whether human or animal, to the place of death via an elaborate ruse was often a major part of the rite.
The intention of the Fisher King in luring Parzival to his castle is different depending on which version of the story is being read. But one common theme is that he needs Parzival to heal him from his wound. In some versions, this can be achieved by magic if Parzival will only ask of the king a certain question, usually, “What ails thee?” The Fisher King apologizes to Parzival upon meeting him because he cannot rise to greet him. He then waits for Parzival to ask him what is wrong. When the young knight doesn’t pick up on the hint right away, he is cursed by the king’s court for his failure to do what was expected of him.
This is the way that the Fisher King, the Lord of Unrule, exerted his subtle influence. This is what it means to “rule but not rule,” as the magical line of the Frankish Merovingian kings were said to have done. According to some Eastern mystics and proto-Nazi German magical orders, this describes the rule of the “Lord of the Earth,” an eternally sleeping being who they believed to reside in the center of the world. From there is was thought that he manipulated events on the surface world by subtly influencing his human adepts to do what he wanted, through visions, dreams, oracles, and magic spells.
Excerpts from Clock Shavings on the Scholomance:
Let us also consider the alchemical school called the “Scholomance” that was attended by Vlad Dracula in Romania. Dracula was a member of our own Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Order, and the Scholomance may have actually been a function of the Court. In the Bram Stoker version of Dracula’s story, the headmaster of the Scholomance was “the Devil” himself. Ten students would be taken per annum, and every year one of them was chosen stay at the school to “ride the Dragon.” The headmaster kept that student as his property, as payment for the other students’ tuition. Once again, the tithing principle of sacrifice is demonstrated.
I have come to the understanding that this is what many paths of occult arcana lead to. The mystery schools are created by those trapped in the underworld, including the cryptic myths and legends associated with them. From the other side, the demons entice curious travelers to make the spiritual journey down to where they are, reeling them in with a trail of esoteric breadcrumbs to follow. But those who dare to venture forth may find themselves, like Hansel and Gretel, at the house of an evil witch who wishes to eat them. Then they may even be transformed into evil witches and vampires themselves, needing to feed off humans to stay “real.”
It works because, at the top of the pyramid in any secret society of occult practice, you will always find a spirit acting as the true “outer head” of the order, whom the human grand master is merely a proxy for. They are generally in contact with each other, I believe, via channeling and possession. Just as the “Scholomance” school of magic in Bram Stoker’s Dracula was taught by the Devil himself, the mysteries of each order are taught to the leaders by the true “Master.”
They are then taught how to build an ark: a box, containing the “Tablets of the Law” (the script or program on which the machinery of the ark will operate). The prophet divines the words that shall go on the tablets (allowing them to be written by an “unseen hand,” or their own hand under alien control). He also channels the dimensions for how to construct the vessel which contains them. He then allows what the alchemists call the “Compass of the Wise” or “Magnet of the Philosophers” to navigate the vessel on the seas of chaos.
It goes without saying that the one who receives these revelations from beyond and puts in the work to build the edifice is usually the first to steer the ship. Others follow in due apostolic succession. But the election to this highest office has nothing to do with democracy. It is something that you self-initiate. When you realize that you are a navigator, you build an ark and pilot it.
At an unseen level, self-elected solomonari of this sort are the ones running things on this Earth behind the scenes. This is represented in popular horror films and novels as the secret underground vampire scene. They live in a system of anarchy amongst themselves, unable to dominate each other because they have each reached a certain level of transcendental power. The general population doesn’t recognize their power at all, because they don’t know what to look for. But these illuminates know each other, because they can see the shining light of the Mark of Cain upon their brows.
Some of these have formed a league, and agreed to keep their own activities within certain boundaries, in order to prevent the general population from becoming aware of the existence of the vampires. But whenever “lone wolves” or criminal syndicates among them decide to act in a way that brings unwanted heat down on the vampire scene (say by committing gruesome murders and leaving the evidence to be found), the “Great White Brotherhood” (of the so-called “right-hand path”) can sometimes step in to interfere. This is the closest they get to morality. It is really a system of rules constructed to prevent the human population from catching on to the rival species that controls them and feeds on them at a level beyond their awareness.
In most cases, secret societies and schools of the occult exist for two reasons: 1) So that fiends of this sort can keep an eye on one another, to keep each other in check, so that those of the right-hand path can enforce a code of behavior on those of a left-hand-path tendency. Those that think they’re “climbing the ladder to Heaven” by “learning” from the “more advanced” initiates may just be led on a Caucus Race to nowhere while the upper-classmen in the school feed off of their energy. They are nothing more than blood bags to the vampires of the group. As in Bram Stoker’s story, only one student out of the total is advanced enough to “ride the Dragon” with the school’s hidden headmaster, or the “outer head” of the order.
Plutarch describes a strange sacrificial rite in which the “servants of Saturn” are sent out on perilous voyages to this island, where they serve him for a period of thirteen years. After that time, they have the choice of staying in his realm or returning home. He writes:
But when the star of Saturn, which we call the ‘Informer,’ but they ‘Nocturnal,’ comes into the sign of the Bull every thirty years, they having got ready a long while beforehand all things required for the sacrifice and the games… they send out people appointed by lot in the same number of ships, furnished with provisions and stores necessary for persons intending to cross so vast a sea by dint of rowing, as well as to live a long time in a foreign land. …It is, indeed, allowed to such as have served thirteen years in waiting upon the god, to return home, but the greatest part prefer to remain there, partly out of habit, partly because they have all things in abundance without toil and trouble, as they pass their time in sacrifices and hymn singing, or in studying legends and philosophy of some sort. For wonderful are both the island and the mildness of the climate; whilst the deity himself has been an obstacle to some when contemplating departure, by manifesting himself to them as to familiars and friends, not by way of dreams or by tokens, but conversing with them in a visible form with many apparitions and speeches of genii.… The stranger having been carried there, as he told us, and waiting upon the god at his leisure, he gained acquaintance with astrology and geometry as far as it is possible to advance, whilst he took up ‘natural science’ for his department of philosophy.
On Saturn’s island, the god teaches them by communicating through apparitions and dreams. That’s also how he keeps them on the island as his slaves. This is the Scholomance that Dracula attended, and the “Invisible College” that Rosicrucians talked about. It seems to be more of a philosophical academy, akin to the “Philosophic Kingdom” of Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, where everyone lives in leisure and spends their time working out the mysteries of the universe. It is the “Unseen University” in of Terry Pratchett novels, and Harry Potter’s “School for Witchcraft & Wizardry,” accessible through a portal at an underground train station.
Traveling to this school is like going to the Witch’s Sabbath on fabled Mount Brocken (of German witchcraft legend). In these stories, the location is accessed by “going forth by night,” in a drug-induced trance, ejecting your soul through the chimney in your house. You then ride to the mountaintop on a magical steed: the broomstick.
This is how Mohammed visited the temple mount (Jerusalem, associated with the “white stone”) after falling asleep on the black stone (at the Kaaba). According to legend, this was his famous “night journey,” flying a magical winged steed named “Buraq.” Note that the Arabic word for the “night journey,” which is “Isra,” sounds very similar to the word “Israel,” the land he visited.
We find an overwhelmingly repetitive pattern in the fictional works of man, portraying what Joseph Campbell called the “Hero’s Journey” and the “Monomyth.” There are many variations on the theme, but generally, these stories involve the protagonist journeying to an unknown, hidden realm to confront gods, demons, or the monarchs of the other side. Here he must battle with these villains, gaining thereby a magical treasure, which he then takes back to Earth with him. Or, conversely, sometimes he becomes the monarch of other side, effecting a revolution, and remains there.
In these stories, there is always a mysterious guide for the hero that comes along in the very beginning. This person (often using trickery) beckons the protagonist to his appointed adventure, and shows up at specific times throughout the story to provide further aid. The white rabbit plays this role in Lewis Carroll’s story, leading Alice down the rabbit hole to revelation. Amazingly, two white rabbits and a man are shown leading a blindfolded alchemist to a rabbit hole at the foot of the alchemical mountain in “The Cave of the Ancients,” and illustration from Stefan Michel Spacher’s 1616 booK Cabala: Spiegel der Kunst und Natur in Alchymia (Cabala: Mirror of Art and Nature in Alchemy). Usually, with the help of this trickster, the hero in these stories obtains an object (symbolizing the alchemical “Compass of the Wise”) that helps him find the hidden kingdom, and the treasure within it.
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