The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism: Origins, Magic, and Secret Societies

By Patrick Lepetit

A profound realizing of the surrealists’ connections with alchemists and mystery societies and the airtight aspirations printed of their works

• Explains how surrealist work and poems hired mythology, gnostic ideas, tarot, voodoo, alchemy, and different airtight sciences to search out unexplored areas of the brain and recuperate misplaced “psychic” and magical powers

• offers many examples of esoteric impression in surrealism, equivalent to how Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon used to be initially titled The tub of the Philosophers

Not basically a creative or literary stream as many think, the surrealists rejected the labels of artist and writer bestowed upon them through outsiders, accepting as a substitute the titles of magician, alchemist, or--in the case of Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo--witch. Their work, poems, and different works have been created to search out unexplored areas of the brain and get well misplaced “psychic” and magical powers. They used inventive expression because the motor vehicle to achieve what André Breton known as the “supreme point,” the purpose at which all opposites stop to be perceived as contradictions. This superb aspect is located on the middle of all esoteric doctrines, together with the nice paintings of alchemy, and allows verbal exchange with greater states of being.

Drawing on an intensive variety of writings through the surrealists and people of their circle of effect, Patrick Lepetit indicates how the surrealists hired mythology, gnostic ideas, tarot, voodoo, and alchemy no longer easily as reference issues yet as major components in their ongoing investigations into the elemental nature of awareness. He presents many particular examples of esoteric effect one of the surrealists, corresponding to how Picasso’s recognized Demoiselles d’Avignon was once initially titled The tub of the Philosophers, how painter Victor Brauner drew from his father’s spiritualist vocation in addition to the Kabbalah and tarot, and the way physician and surrealist writer Pierre Mabille was once a Freemason occupied with discovering initiatory paths the place “it is feasible to consider a brand new approach connecting guy with the universe.”

Lepetit casts new gentle at the connection among key figures of the stream and the circle of adepts collected round Fulcanelli. He additionally explores the connection among surrealists and Freemasonry, Martinists, and the choose Cohen in addition to the Grail mythos and the Arthurian brotherhood.

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Fifty seven this type of gnostic proposal incorporates the belief of “reintegration” in embryo, “a very influential doctrine that later flourished. via Böhme and Weigel and others*141 it grew to become the foundation of the total glossy theosophical movement,”58 in addition to German romanticism. In her footnotes to the anthology of texts via André Masson, Le Rebelle du surréalisme: Écrits (The insurgent of Surrealism: Writings), Francoise Levaillant cites Masson’s poem “From the head of Montserrat” (published within the 8th factor of Minotaure in June 1936), which include the next: And PARACELSUS: his arms resting at the sword of knowledge In intimacy with the celebrities and stones In love with the caverns of humanity With the abdominal of the universe. She additionally says, “It is curious to determine the curiosity proven by way of an informed public of the Nineteen Twenties within the doctrines of the occultist pupil and healthcare professional. ”59 and she or he mentions René Allendy, Antonin Artaud, Jean Epstein, and Michel Leiris as fanatics of Paracelsus, unaware that Ithell Colquhoun’s cat replied to the identify of Theophrastus Paracelsus (according to Eric Ratcliffe). Ratcliffe additionally notes that the identify of the paintings this English writer dedicated to Mathers, Sword of knowledge, used to be at once borrowed from Masson’s poem. Kurt Seligmann, pursuing his exploration of the foundational texts of esotericism, would offer an English translation of the “prognostications” of the German philosopher (i. e. , Paracelsus) with thirty-two engravings in factor 2–3 of VVV (March 1943). those prognostications have been first released in Strasbourg in 1530 (thus ahead of Nostradamus’s Centuries) and rediscovered within the 19th century by way of Eliphas Levi. Allendy felt they gave off an smell of brimstone: “It doesn't appear uncertain to me that the Prognostic had a progressive which means with appreciate to the Church and to the aristocratic governments. ”60 *142 It used to be additionally Paracelsus whom Alberti Savinio incorporated between his “new acquaintances” in his lifetime of Henrik Ibsen. It was once additionally to Paracelsus that Roger Caillois expressed his gratitude in Le fleuve Alphée (The River Alph), mentioning his identify subsequent to these of Ruysbroek the Admirable, Meister Eckhart, and particularly Giordano Bruno. His idea of signatures helped me enormously, thirty years later, while i used to be imagining tips on how to current an idea of habitual types unavoidably at paintings in a countable universe. It used to be additionally a e-book through Paracelsus that the younger vagabond of Aurora was once examining, a booklet Leiris—or the narrator of the e-book presents a long description of finishing this manner: eventually, at the final web page, like a type of diagram summarizing the content material of the textual content, there has been a replica of the escutcheon of Paracelsus, comprising a pink alembic drawn on a star-studded black history within which burned a white salamander and from which blond hair rose like wisps of smoke. the whole lot used to be observed by means of this motto, the best option for the best guy ever to hunt the philosopher’s stone: “Or air of mystery. ”*143 it's nonetheless the language of the birds, yet couldn’t Aurora even be Sophia, the knowledge expensive to Jacob Böhme at “‘the golden hour’ (aurea hora), the hour while the evening of lack of information and the damaging putrefaction of subject involves an end,” as prompt by way of Alexander Roob?

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