To the scientist the aim of alchemy seems only to be the transmutation of base metals into gold. Though some alchemists were concerned solely with this, many were serious and dedicated thinkers who used alchemical symbols and ideas to probe religious, philosophical and psychological issues.

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Haiku is a form of poetry which is written in seventeen syllables. Each poem contains a word that refers to the season described in the haiku. The following haiku are by the three greatest haiku poets of Japan. (All translations are by R. H. Blyth)

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Medieval Chronicle ( Excerpt)


**The Sufi dervishes who dance or spin continuously in one spot, eyes shut, maintaining their balance by focusing on their mind’s or imagination’s image of themselves from the outside, and allowing the vision to be physically accomplished. And they are able to spin for many minutes like this, a blur, arms spread in their white robes, like angels. I like to think of them, because picturing my memory of them, dancing and imagining this level of mental control they possess, please me and fills me with a deep yearning. And the idea that the philosophy they’ve developed includes this physical practice (the spin) whose purpose is to help further the search for spiritual perfection… like the Catholics using the repetition of the rosary, or the Buddhists with their prayer beads, the Hindu’s yoga movements, to force the mind to focus and concentrate in a physical rather than abstract, intellectual way, to conquer the mind and battle the ego’s fears and desires into a whole person, balance the scurrying mind’s deviations and doubts by submitting and directing its loose nerve ends, concentrating its electrical energy into a moment, by collapsing it into motion so they –the mind an the body- are one action, thought-desire and motion.


The dervishes are a great symbol for me and a metaphor for how an individual’s ability to manifest a desire/idea perhaps can be practiced by a group… to create, expand and develop a big idea, to melt individual vision with that of a group, by the collaboration on a joint ideal that can be shared and made real, the two-way reflection that results from this, is deeply satisfying to me.