“The Artistic Laboratory”

“My laboratory was also that of an alchemist, and from my stored treasures I sought, as he once had, the materia prima, whose discovery would bring the Great Light to my being. My alchemist worked with the physical elements of my body and the ideational vapors of my mind. In his retorts and alembics could be found, in bubbling boil, the four humors: black, earthy, irritable, and melancholic bile and its xanthic cousin, fiery, angry, and choleric; sputum-clear phlegm, watery and calm, and red, aerated blood, amorous and sanguine. Across many pages of rubricated and miniated manuscripts were written events and memories from the present and thousands of past lives. From scriptures hoary and foreign, from poesy of the sojourners of kef, from stray secrets captured from the mouths of hermit saints, the alchemist worked. From oiled visions of masters, from the stark dreams stolen from their wandering nights and carried back like pillage by a bloodied warrior, from woven multiverses and figures of gods and their consorts sculpted from aromatic woods, he sought in urgency, even desperation, for the required answers. Wandering into tangled, clinging, sweating, howling jungles, and struggling to stroke over watery walls the height of buildings, swallowing briny mouthfuls, fearing circling fins as slimy forms slithered past his legs, he searched for the alkahest, that pure solvent able to dissolve every impurity in man and object, leaving only the pure, the true, the divine. No aqua regia would satisfy him. The search must yield perfection or must fail. In his laboratory, my alchemist would discover the quintessence of life or die bent over rows of fuming elixirs, canisters of terrene matter, beakers of foaming solvents, carboys of corrosive agents, and crucibles of glittering powders. As if by the sweep of a godly hand or the spelling baton of an awful magus, the vast work room, dedicated to laborious and painstaking process, would many times be transformed into a studio sacred to the arts. The scientific apparatus disappeared as though it had been a mirage and, in its place, rose up an indoor field where the spirit might play, forging divine forms from vessels of clay. Now chaise longues of celadon moquette reclined like odalisques beckoning their lovers; urns, Egyptian and Greek, drew one’s attention to the tops of marquetry-inlaid tables; worn but still exquisite Isfahan carpets with meticulous detail and lavish design heated the old, dark, wooden floors with their warm garnets and creams; classical-themed paintings by Renaissance masters transported the viewer’s soul into grottoes, love beds, pastures, and battlefields.”

Richard Maddox

Richard Dietrich Maddox's writing focuses on the search for permanent happiness, the goal of finding paradise on earth, the attainment of human Enlightenment. His work, though fiction, attempts to convey the profound spiritual Truth passed on to humanity by Enlightened Masters. Maddox approaches spiritual wisdom from a Western level of experience, presenting characters to whom readers can easily relate, offering situations in which readers might well have found themselves. His work offers, in a style which those living in the West will find understandable, the possibility of blissful existence.

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