PHANTASMAGORIA 1

Ashmole cannot sleep. He strolls onto the brick patio outside his bedroom French doors. He’s enjoying the cool night. A little white moth alights on his upper right arm. Its tiny wings flutter against his skin. Little soft baby kisses. Ashmole’s aversion to moths of all types comes alive:

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

TINY MOTH WINGS FLUTTER AGAINST ASHMOLE’S PALE MOONLIT SKIN

DREAM 1

A HOMUNCULUS DRESSED AS A MEDIEVAL COURT JESTER APPEARS OUT OF DARKNESS IMPENETRABLE. HE SHAKES HIS STICK THREE TIMES, ITS LITTLE BELLS TINKLING. DARK GREEN CURTAINS APPEAR, ILLUMINATED BY CONCEALED FOOTLIGHTS. THE CURTAINS PART, REVEALING A TABLET. ON IT IS CARVED A SQUARE; IN THE SQUARE IS A PERFECT CIRCLE; WITHIN THE CIRCLE IS A TRIANGLE. IN THE UPPER LEFT –HAND CORNER OF THE TABLET IS A STAR. IN THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER IS A CRESCENT MOON. Ɨ

Ɨ Hermes Trismegistus, in direct descent of the first alchemist, Adam, father of the human race, appears in a manuscript holding two tablets, the right one of the fabled Emerald Tablet, which has been studied and translated almost as much as the Bible itself, and is far less understood — the other as seen by Ashmole in his dream. The vision of Trismegistus has revealed, to Ashmole, the left-hand tablet, in all its beautiful obscurity.
 Certainly squaring the circle was a major preoccupation of Medieval alchemists. The tablet suggests a riddle, which Ashmole finds a pleasant diversion over morning tea and toast.

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