Category Archives: Esoteric

George Ripley’s Alchemical Scrolls


This past weekend, an old work-friend of Pixie’s and mine visited Oxford. Pixie had planned a visit to Oxford Castle, as we had never done the tour. That turned out to be quite interesting. Our tour guide was dressed as Svein Forkbeard and he did a pretty credible Danish accent, too (though Pixie thought he sounded Irish). He proved to be a decent improviser, too. While our tour group were on the roof of the castle, surveying the Oxford skyline, a couple decided to head back down the steps. “Bye”, he shouted. He then looked at the rest of us and said “I still have the gift of sending people away.”

We stayed behind in the Crypt Of St George and lost the tour group, then checked out the prison display. After climbing the hill next to the castle for some photos, it was off to The King’s Arms for some lunch.

The Museum Of The History Of Science was next. We checked out the taxidermy exhibit (not as graphic as I expected) and the assortment of scientific instruments and other curios on display (an elephant tooth, a puffer fish, etc.). By chance, we happened to go by the Bodleian Library. In a room off of the quad, was a “Magical Books” exhibit. It turned out to be mainly fiction works, “Harry Potter” and that sort of thing. There were references to Aleister Crowley and John Dee‘s Enochian language tablet (which usually resides in the Museum Of The History Of Science).

The highlight of the exhibit were large alchemical scrolls by George Ripley, an English alchemical scholar. They are beautifully illustrated with fantastical creatures and eerie gothic lettering. The words may seem like nonsense, but if you have any knowledge of alchemy and the processes of alchemy, they will have some meaning for you. We wandered into the display with not much time to view, as the library was closing to the public. I quickly snapped some photos of the scrolls and the Beardsley drawing. Fascinating stuff – I hope to see the scrolls again sometime.

Them ol’ Mercury Retrograde blues


I started seeing a few posts on Facebook talking about the Mercury Retrograde recently. I was slightly bemused, because while I find aspects of astrology interesting enough to research, I don’t believe in it per se. If you’re unsure what “Mercury retrograde” means, here’s a little primer.

Now, it’s fairly easy to scoff at this stuff and as I say, even I don’t believe it 100% – however, our computer that had been working fine for the past four years suddenly went kaput. The motherboard crashed and the computer tech. we called out to look at it couldn’t find any visible evidence of why it did so. Then our boiler started acting funny, though that was only temporary (phew!). All very strange.

I’ve been having really weird dreams, too – I mean, weirder than usual. You know those ones, where they’re quite vivid and you wake up and think “What the hell was that all about?”

A couple of other things happened as well – messages from friends which caused change and added to the aura of bewilderment.

Does all this mean anything? Maybe not. Could it be autosuggestion? Possibly – though I’m not sure how I would’ve caused the computer to crash by becoming aware of a Mercury retrograde. Curiouser and curiouser. My birth sign is Gemini and allegedly, we’re quite vulnerable to Mercury retrograde, as the sign is ‘ruled’ by Mercury. Heyyyyyy, now I can blame all my fuck-ups on those pesky retrogrades…I keed, I keed.

Antero Alli wrote a cogent post about the phenomenon – you can read it here. Good luck, peeps, but don’t worry – this particular retrograde is due to end on 17th March – just in time for St. Paddy’s Day!