prima materia

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prima materia

Post  solomon levi on Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:49 am

In the Samkhya system of Hindu philosophy, there are many correlations with alchemical philosophy.

As Kapila described it, in the beginning there were two principles: Purusha and Prakriti.
Purusha relates somewhat to what westerners call soul, and Prakriti is primordial matter.
The relation to sulphur and mercury are evident.
The first matter untouched by soul is termed A-vyatka Prakriti - unmanifest.
In the unmanifest state, the three qualities, or gunas, are said to be in perfect equilibrium.

This Prakriti, like the alchemists' first matter, is no particular thing, but becomes all things when
coagulated by philosophical sulphur. (These two also relate to the ancient Greek hyle and eidos -
matter and form.)

So when Purusha observes Prakriti, the gunas are disturbed and we have manifestation.
Purusha was formerly in darkness until it became aware of Prakriti, and light was the result,
which is the third principle - Buddhi: awakening, perception, consciousness; philosophical salt.

And with this simultaneously arises the perceiver - ahamkara: ego sense of self; division into
subject-object.


Anyway, I'm probably confusing things more than I am explaining.
I'll come back to this sometime.

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Re: prima materia

Post  solomon levi on Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:44 am

Ok. So I wanted to speak about unconditioned consciousness/mind as the
prima materia. It has to do with being present, as true presence is quintessence.

Only a year ago I had thought the present moment was this moment - now, a point
on a linear timeline between past and future. But after studying advaita and having some
experiences, I now know that the present is a completely different consciousness/state
and not just any ordinary passing moment. I know that sounds contrary to non-duality,
but I have to explain it that way. The present must be without thought, without knowledge,
without self, otherwise it is conditioned/determmined, tincted - the three gunas are
imbalanced and manifesting. So technically the tincted present is still the present, just like
vyatka prakriti is still prakriti. But I'm wanting to point to the magical present/presence
of prima materia/undifferentiated mind (which is no mind).

"To think is to practice magic. To let the mind/inner dialogue run without awareness/
conscious intent is to practice 'black' magic."

Another way to point at this state is to say it lacks the usual state's preoccupation with
subject-object identification.

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Re: prima materia

Post  WCH on Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:53 pm

I attended a lecture on alchemy recently where at one point the lecturer showed us a picture of a friend and alchemist from the west coast, and casually commented "he's holding the prima materia in his hand, so we had to blot it out" and there's a question mark superimposed over the guy's outstretched hand. Only had the image up for about five seconds, made the casual remark and moved on. Classic.
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Re: prima materia

Post  phliosehea on Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:20 am

Who was the person giving the lecture?
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