The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Category “Arcana”

The Real Infinite Improbability Drive: Cloaking Devices, UFOs, and ESP

Sunday, 7 December, 2014

Away in front of them a huge white dome that bulged against the sky cracked down in the middle, split, and slowly folded itself down into the ground. … Beneath it lay uncovered a huge starship, one hundred and fifty metres long, shaped like a sleek running shoe, perfectly white and mindboggingly beautiful. At the […]

Ambassadors from Flatland: UFOs and Anamorphosis

Tuesday, 11 November, 2014

It is frequently suggested that UFOs originate in or at least travel through other, higher dimensions. The examples of interdimensional interaction in E.A. Abbott’s classic fable Flatland are often cited to illustrate how such an intrusion into lower dimensions from higher ones might appear. A sphere passing through Flatland (a world with two spatial dimensions […]

Hermetic Astronomy

Friday, 19 August, 2011

In Fortean Times there is a new, excellent article on the hermetic context of Renaissance astronomy and Galileo’s famous trial. The rediscovery of ancient hermetic philosophy during the Renaissance was the most important influence on intellectuals of the period–from Copernicus to Shakespeare–yet few people nowadays are aware of it. As the authors Lynn Picknett and […]

Breakaway Civilizations

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

In Volume II of UFOs and the National Security State, historian Richard Dolan speculates about the possibility of a “breakaway civilization,” by which he means (as I understand it) essentially a secret society of government and business elites who have access to what is known about UFOs and may even possess technologies back-engineered from crashed […]

Atalanta Fugiens (pt. 3): Dragons

Monday, 4 May, 2009

The story of Hercules’ theft of the apples in the Garden of the Hesperides necessarily also reminds us of the story, even more commonly alluded to by alchemical writers, of Jason and the golden fleece. This story is commonly considered to be one of the most explicit mythological expressions of the alchemical process and objective. […]

Atalanta Fugiens (pt. 2): The Garden of the Hesperides

Saturday, 2 May, 2009

“Experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a doss-house. It is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and coordinating. Experience is not what happens to a man; […]

Atalanta Fugiens (pt. 1): Fixing the Volatile Mercury

Friday, 1 May, 2009

The loveliest alchemical text of the whole 17th Century is Atalanta Fugiens, literally “Atalanta Fleeing,” by Michael Maier. The title refers to the story, told by Ovid, about the race between the beautiful fleet-footed virgin Atalanta and her would-be suitor Hippomenes. The frontispiece of the book depicts various scenes from this story, and the 50 […]

The Hermetic Egg (on Salt and Time)

Thursday, 30 April, 2009

I went into the village to buy a paper and mushrooms, and returned sometime later to find the kitchen floor strewn with, of all things, egg shells. The pan still in the sink told me F— had made herself an omelette for her lunch. Instead of discarding the shells, she had opted to leave them […]


Friday, 24 April, 2009

My assistant F. is, in her Lilith-like fashion, a lover of serpents. She often goes out in the village with her pet python draped over her shoulders, so when she is not being stared at for her own natural gifts, she is being stared at for her python, because, well, you don’t see that every […]

Muzeum Alchymie v Kutne Hore

Wednesday, 15 April, 2009

E. and I made a day trip to Kutna Hora to visit an Alchemy Museum run by an acquaintance from my Prague days, Michal Pober. A mutual friend, Dan Kenney, had introduced us back in ’97 in a quiet teahouse on a secluded street in Old Town. It had been one of those Prague conversations: […]