Ellen Cavanaugh: Magnetism, Mesmerism, and Murder: The Occult in Edwin Drood

Отправлено 19 июл. 2013 г., 10:33 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 19 июл. 2013 г., 10:33 ]

HE laws of alche­my dic­tate that the philoso­phers' stone con­tains the power to turn in­valu­able met­als into gold and to grant its bear­er im­mor­tal­i­ty. Its pos­ses­sor is guar­an­teed end­less and age­less life un­less they fall vic­tim to two of the paradigm's four pri­ma­ry el­e­ments; fire or water, by ei­ther burn­ing or drown­ing. In the case of Charles Dick­ens's novel, The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood, char­ac­ters use the oc­cult pow­ers of alche­my and an­i­mal mag­netism in at­tempt to ob­tain the philoso­phers' stone, also known as the elixir vitae. This stone is re­put­ed­ly the only ob­ject that con­tains the power to per­ma­nent­ly align one's being with heav­en, grant­ing eter­nal and eu­phoric life. When all oc­cult meth­ods fail to pro­duce the elixir of im­mor­tal­i­ty, the in­di­vid­u­al is left weak­ened by de­feat, and must con­sume a se­cret­ly con­jured elixir to re­store en­er­gy as well as the de­ple­tion of vital forces. These more eas­i­ly ob­tain­able but less po­tent elixirs can be made from hashish, opium, and other nar­cotics and en­able the tem­po­rary trans­mu­ta­tion of the soul. The con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ences fleet­ing ela­tion due to the op­por­tu­ni­ty that the elixir pro­vides for their souls to tran­scend the ma­te­ri­al­ism of Earth, by shed­ding their bod­ies and en­ter­ing a heav­en-like sphere.

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