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What I believe to be the hidden core of my life will not easily be deciphered, even when I tell, as here, the outer circumstances. William Carlos Williams.

1. Alchemy is not beauty in itself, for beauty is a static ideal. Our art is not gay or sad, light or dark, black or white. We have had enough of spiritualism and astrological academies, mere laboratories of formalist ideas. The goal of our art is not gold nor yet the applause of the crowd. Every prophet finally arrives at the bank astride a hobby-horse, the door opened to the possibility that the mystic’s red palm is stinging from being crossed with vast amounts of silver.

2. Alchemy doesn’t reach the voracious mass. It is the work of creators and issues from a real necessity of the alchemist and for the alchemist. It demonstrates the knowledge of a supreme egoism, where laws wilt. Each demonstration of this art must explode, either through a profound and heavy seriousness, the whirlwind, dizziness, the new, the eternal, through the enthusiasm of principles, or by the way in which the alchemist reveals his or her existence to those with the wit to apprehend it. Here is a tottering and fleeing world, engaged to the bells of the infernal scale.

3. Already the edifice of our language is too undermined for anyone to recommend that alchemy continue to take refuge in it. And before rebuilding it is essential to cast down what still seems solid, what makes a show of still standing. The words that the artifice of logic still lumps together must be separated, isolated. They must be forced to parade again before virgin eyes like the animals after the deluge, issuing one by one from the ark, before any conjuration. And if, through some old and purely typographic convention, they are set end to end in a single line, take care to arrange them in a disorder in which they have no reason to follow one another. The evolution of our art is of a cyclical order. It proceeds by bounds, interruptions, and the antagonistic shock of currents explored. Each of these is denied, negated, and assimilated by what follows.

4. The need to find explanations for that which has no other reason than to be made, simply, without discussion, with the minimum of criteria or criticism, is like auto-kleptomania perpetually putting the same thing in different pockets. The species is poor because it robs itself. It’s not the difficulty of understanding life which is involved; but the (de)individuated stealing the elements of their own personality. The alchemist fructifies the metal, letting feelings sleep. We put an owl in a hexagon, sing in hexameters, use angles. Euclidean geometry is dry and old. A wayward line kills theories. Ideas poison alchemy. If the poison carries a sonorous name from the big philological belly, alchemy becomes contagion; and if one rejoices in that intestinal muscularity, the mixture becomes a danger.

5. Humidity of past ages. Those who feed on tears are satisfied and heavy. But for the abundance and explosion, the alchemist knows how to fire hope. This desire boils for enthusiasm, fruitful form of intensity. The spirit of that negative man, always ready to let himself be killed by the merry-go-round of the wind and trampled by the shower of meteors, goes beyond sweet hysteria settled in sumptuous mock Egyptian apartments. Whether it be forms, colours, volumes, sounds, or words which enter as mediators in the working out of this thing, it is by denying their specific nature that the alchemist renders them capable of acting, so that they will be reintegrated according to the new and more general nature which henceforth is attached to them.

6. The alchemist understands that the next stage in the art exists only in the moment of intensity where beauty and life, concentrated on the heights of a metal wire, ascend toward the fire. Numerous are those who no longer look for solutions in the object and in its relationships with the exterior; they are cosmic or elemental, resolute, wise, simple, serious. This is an essential quality of the work. It implies order which is a necessary condition for the life of any organism. Multiple, diverse and distant elements are, more or less intensely, concentrated in the work. The alchemist collects them, selects, arranges, and makes from them a solution. The temperature of the solution is in the first place, a point of no consequence: still with the increase or diminution of the temperature, there comes a point where this state of cohesion undergoes a qualitative change, and the solution is converted into steam or ice. Quantity is not only capable of alteration, i.e., of increase or diminution: it is naturally and necessarily a tendency to exceed itself.

7. There are two principles in the cosmic: a) to give an equal importance to each object, being, material, organism of the universe; b) to accentuate the importance of our species, subordinating things to her, beings, objects etc. The core of this latter principle is a psychological method; the danger lies in the tendency toward correction. It is a matter of letting the subject become what she will. The alchemist is carried along by the chance of succession and impression. For the first principle, the need takes another form: to place the species alongside other elements just as she is, in order to improve her. Work together anonymously on the great cathedral of life which is our project, outing those instincts which would – if the personality were to be unduly stressed – take on the proportions of Babylonian evil and cynicism.

8. Alchemy is a quality of a given psychic movement, a release of forces which, responding to the action of an as yet unknown compulsion, is capable of causing certain phenomena to pass from one state of being to another in the direction of a synthesis which is a quantitative act of knowledge, and which we call the blackening. The serpent, centring itself in a point of a line formed by the boundary between the white and the black, draws its substance by making the mass in the depths converge toward this point. The dragon, having been born at the same junction and also represented by a point, projects out to the exterior world through divergence and in a superior form corresponding to those which lie in a latent state in the depths of the inner world. The materia must be immodest, insolent and brutal, if it is not to fall into annulment.

9. The next stage consists in learning to move from one thing to another according to metaphorical mode. This movement, excluding by its very dynamism all that is organic, that is to say the natural and continuous use of transfer in the process of reduction and dissolution, might be explained as a method of systematising forgetfulness. Despite the hermetic appearance of alchemy – that personal algebra formed from the process of symbolisation, which to be translated requires both study and intuition – it is inextricably linked to encounters with certain psychic archetypes. Thus it is necessary to abandon the tinsel of words and images and merge one’s identity with the work. Alchemy is a passage. It tends to integrate itself into life by abandoning its form. The transformation which its form has undergone through putrefaction leads to other changes and can go so far as to make it lose its perceptible characteristics.

10. The lycanthropic determinant is, so to speak, subterranean. It is present only in an impulse which remains invisible throughout the work. Thus the portion of non-directed action is greater in it. The signification itself tends to disappear under the pressure of the surge provoked by the powerful movements it induces. Creation matters little now, there can be neither equilibrium nor rest. To the question: is alchemy a reality in itself or does it serve to represent an imagined reality, certain charlatans have answered by opting for the second proposition. This reaction against alchemy that has its goal in its own means, risks becoming in its turn the expression of a more general confusion. However, stability is only an imperceptible moment. Thus fools are led to believe that in contrast to the appearance of a sensory hypertrophy, it would be easy to set up effectively and without suppression of details, the rotating precipitation of an accelerated world.

11. We can now say that alchemy has retraced the path along which plastic forms, from the anonymous arts to the skilful expressions of the Renaissance, have been invented. By re-examining the means of creation by which our species has forced itself through the ages to synthesise its representations of the world, alchemy denies not only the object of that representation but also the schemes of interpretation which had hardened at different periods and in different parts of the world.


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