urcC Research Notes: Cinnabar


While tunneling deep into Kave Theory, the urrC stumbled across the following synchronicity machine:



That “cinnabar” decodes to “unity” is no great surprise, given the role attributed to the substance – a bright red, toxic mercury sulfide – in both Western and Eastern alchemy. Regarding the Western paths, Peter Levenda writes that “…the mercury-sulfur combination was seen as a kind of perfect marriage by the alchemist: mercury and sulfur were found together in the earth in the form of cinnabar, and once separated from one another in the chemical processes intended to refine and purify, they could still bond again in their natural state.” [1] As Levenda is quick to point out, neither cinnabar, nor the derivatives of mercury and sulfur, constitute the First Matter, the prima materia, that the alchemical processes aims towards. It is, however, emblematic of initiation, an entry into the practice itself by way of working the raw materials and observing their operations in the laboratory. Yet at the same time cinnabar itself is elevated (perhaps due to its status as a unifying force), with all other red substances being linked to it.

This theme returns in the East’s Taoist alchemy, where the red color of blood positions cinnabar as being related to the vital substance, the proper flow which is intrinsic to return to the primordial eternity in tantric rite.[2] Blood, however, is not the only substance connected to seminar; semen itself is connected by way of the vital substance. It is worth quoting Mircea Eliade at length on these matters:

…Cinnabar can also be made inside the human body, mainly by means of the distillation of sperm. ‘The Taoist, imitating animals and vegetables, hangs himself upside down, causing the essence of his sperm to flow up to his brain.’ The tan-t’ien, the ‘famous fields of cinnabar’, are to be found in the most secret recesses of the brain and belly: there it is that the embryo of immortality is alchemically prepared. Another name for these cinnabar fields is K’un Lun, meaning both ‘mountain of the western sea’ – a sojourn of the immortals – and a secret region of the brain, comprising the ‘chamber similar to a cave’ (tong-fang, which also signifies ‘nuptial chamber’) and the ‘nirvana’ (ni-wan). ‘In order to enter therein by mystical meditation, one falls into a ‘chaotic’ state (houen) resembling the primordial, paradisal, ‘unconscious’ condition of the uncreated world.’[3].

Thus we arrive at the critical juncture in which AQ decoding revealed reflexivity (FIELDS OF CINNABAR = TANTRIC CINNABAR) and a relation to ongoing concerns (FIELDS OF CINNABAR = ACCELERATIONISM). But urrC researchers were quick to find the cinnabar path snaking through other concerns as well. It seems that Immanuel Kant himself deployed the figure of cinnabar in his Critique of Pure Reason, as a key example in his “synthesis of reproduction in imagination”:

If cinnabar were sometimes red, sometimes black, sometimes light, sometimes heavy, if man changed sometimes into this and sometimes into animal form, if the country on the longest day were sometimes covered with fruit, sometimes with ice and snow, my empirical imagination would never find opportunity to when representing red colour to bring to mind heavy cinnabar.[4]

Then there is the case of Heinrich Quincke, a German physiologist and surgeon, who in 1872 carried out “the experimental injection of cinnabar emulsion into the spinal subarachnoid of living dogs”. It is not lost on the urrC research team that in Taoist alchemy the vital fluid snakes up the spinal column (referred to as the internal “milky way”).

Cinnabar appears again in the eighth chapter of the The Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis), titled “Concerning the Medal or Pentacles, and the Manner of Constructing Them”. In these pages, the adept is advised to deploy cinnabar red in the construction the pentacles: “Thou shalt commence the writing or construction of the Pentacles in the hour aforesaid. Among other things, thou shall chiefly use these colors: Gold, Cinnabar, or Vermilion Red, and celestial or brilliant Azure Blue. Furthermore, thou shalt make these Medals or Pentacles with exorcised pen and colours…” Though The Key of Solomon the King, and variations on it, are mis-attributed to the Biblical figure (having been penned during the Renaissance, though undoubtedly under the influence of earlier texts and fragments), another AQ conjunction arises here. Not only does AQ134 = CINNABAR = UNITY – AQ134 = KING SOLOMON as well.

At this point the urrC team has more questions than answers. These include:

  • What is the precise nature of the relationship between the fields of cinnabar and accelerationism? And wider still, what is the relationship between Taoism, tantra, and accelerationism, particularly in its unconditional, cascading form?
  • What is the meaning behind Kant’s utilization of cinnabar? To what degree does an “occultic Kant” exist, and where would such a figure take us?
  • Why did Quincke use cinnabar in his experiments, and why do they resonate in such a strange manner with Taoist alchemy? Is this coincidence, or was Quincke, like so many others of his time and place (Germany in the latter half of the 1800s), spiritually-minded?
  • What is the importance of The Key of Solomon the King to this underground stream? Who truly authored the work?

There are additional questions, straddling the bizarre liminal space of the tangential and center, that have are not elaborated here. For starters, what are we to make of the possibility of a relationship between Taoism and Gnon-theology (see reply around January 1st, 2015)? And more importantly, there is the question of where exactly in the murky depths of the past that these tendrils arise from. Levenda, for instance, puts forwards the intriguing hypothesis that many of the tendencies, movements, and pathways bundled up under the common signifier of “tantra” arose in what is today Java (a notion that was also embraced by a great many of the Theosophists).[5] If this is true, we are brought right to the threshold of inquiries into Lemuria. Thus there is another set of questions to be added to list:

  • Is there a relationship between Javanese Tantra and Lemurian sorcery? What role might cinnabar have played in this?

[1]. Peter Levenda The Tantric Alchemist: Thomas Vaughan and the Indian Tantric Tradition, pg. 134

[2]. An interesting set of themes circulates here: just as drinking blood was believed to have helped generate youthful vitality to the point of immortality, cinnabar is given the power to bestow longevity on those who consume it. The Lieh Hsien Ch’uan recounts, for instance, the use of cinnabar as a gate to immortality. It is interesting to consider, then, the Mayan “Red Queen” of Palenque, whose burial chambers, worldly possession and body were coated in cinnabar dust. Similarly, the Taoist goal of return to the primordial eternity constitutes the transformation into an immortal being.

[3]. Mircea Eliade The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structures of Alchemy, pgs. 117-118. There are interesting parallels between the depiction of ‘primordial, paradisal, unconscious condition of the uncreated world’ and the discourses surround the Body without Organs and the Plane of Consistency in the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. For a link between the Body without Organs and Taoist practice, see Deleuze and Guattari A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, pg. 157

[4]. Deleuze and Guattari invoke this passage in opening salvo to the conclusion (provocatively titled “From Chaos to the Brain”) of their final collaborative work, What is Philosophy. After quoting Kant, they write “And finally, at the meeting point of things and thought, the sensation must recur – that of heaviness whenever we hold cinnabar in our hands, that of red whenever we look at it – as proof or evidence of their agreement with our bodily organs that do not perceive the present without imposing on it a conformity with the past. This is all we ask for in order to make an option for ourselves, like a sort of ‘umbrella’ which protects us from chaos.” What is Philosophy? pg. 202

[5]. See Peter Levenda Tantric Temples: Eros and Magic in Java

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6 Responses to urcC Research Notes: Cinnabar

  1. virus says:

    Cinnabar is not solely esoteric: its exoteric lines are equally quixotic, while opening ways to track acausal connexions that proliferate in more nonidividualiat modes.

    At least as far back as the 4th century BCE, it was a known minneral. (cf. Theophrastus, Aristotle’s student)

    It is worth tracing its use as a tint, alongside histories of cobalt, copper, and other widely known and used colorants.

    Following the natural veins of cinnabar towards their bloodletting and displacement should multiply the recounting of exo/esoteric imaginaries.


  2. regarding the relation to accelerationism: the importance of mercury to capitalism is undeniable from its uses.


    also, it’s the only metallice element to be liquid in standard conditions of temperature and pressure. think, a liquid metal!

  3. and cinnabar, while deadly, was used as a decorative for many centuries. if that’s not precisely the relation between capital and humanity…

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