Enjoy an exclusive guest post from Megan Dorei, author of “Chrysopoeia,” which will be featured in the upcoming anthology ON FIRE set for release on 12.01.17.
A crusade for immortality begins with a fire, a centuries-deep instinct not only to survive life but to conquer it. Alchemists, often referred to throughout history as the Masters of Fire, dedicated themselves to a craft that pursued this ideal.
While steeped in mysticism, alchemy served as the skeleton over which chemistry would later flesh itself, much like astrology and herbalism led to astronomy and pharmacology. Experiments were conducted, but they were not entirely scientific. Alchemy balanced materialism with spirituality, and was often metaphorical in its meanings. The Philosopher’s Stone wasn’t simply a substance to attain immortality; it was enlightenment. Chrysopoeia wasn’t only a tangible procedure, it was a mental journey to one’s purest self. As such, the fires that alchemists used in their experiments were not all purely physical. There were four grades, ordered from most temporal to most metaphysical.
Elementary Fire was the most temporal and the easiest to pin down. It was described as “the fire of our stoves” by Antoine-Joseph Pernety, French writer and founder of the Illuminati of Avignon. He wrote that “it has for its abode the surface of the earth and our atmosphere and is destructive…” This is the fire we create in the striking of matches.
The Secret Fire was the primary fire utilized by alchemists, and remains to this day the most mysterious. They kept its true nature hidden from those outside of their philosophy, but it’s speculated that it represented the human imagination, and that its true potential exists in all of us.
Central Fire was the fire of creation. Pernety wrote that it “is lodged in the center of matter…digesting, maturing, neither warm nor burning to the touch.” This was considered to be the spark of a higher intelligence working through all of existence, including our own humble bodies.
Finally, the Celestial Fire, the most spiritual, was also the purest and highest of the grades. It was described by Pernety as having no odor or color, and that it was “gentle.” Alchemists believed it to be the will of the One Mind.
Whether spiritual or physical, the pursuit of immortality is shadowed by the unknown. It is a crucible, needing perhaps only the right flame to illuminate its mysteries.
Megan Dorei is a part-time housekeeper who spends her free time writing, thinking about writing, and listening to music to reinvigorate her writing. She is a horror devotee, beer enthusiast and lover of all things retro. She has been a contributing author to Sirens Call Publications’ Bellows of the Bone Box and Mental Ward: Stories From the Asylum, Storm Moon Press‘ Big Damn Heroines, Dark Moon Digest #14, Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy: Dystopia Utopia, and most recently in Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2017. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her fiancée and a ghost that insists on hiding their remotes.
Follow our Amazon page for On Fire‘s release this holiday season and stay tuned for the official cover reveal and giveaways this Halloween!