[Video Class] Architecture of Initiation: Alchemy and the Theater of Memory with Brian Cotnoir


22 Teachings Master Series: Architecture of Initiation: Alchemy and the Theater of Memory
Teacher: Brian Cotnoir
Length: 2 hrs
Recorded: March 2021

Throughout time, from the caves of Lascaux and Chavet to temples and cathedrals around the world, structures natural and constructed have been the locus of the symbolic embodiment of esoteric practice. Where the orientation, proportion, shape, and ornamentation of these spaces embody, not just an esoteric cosmology or world-view, but specific concrete practices. Tonight’s illustrated talk will explore the development and links in this architecture of initiation.

Starting with the Greek orators’ art of memory and its renaissance development into the memory theater of Giulio Camillo and Giordano Bruno with its more explicit esoteric Hermetic applications, these later works will be considered in light of Buddhist tantric mandalas, themselves 2D architectural representations of temples that physically embody the meditative techniques of a particular practice.  

We will end with a brief examination of Notre Dame Cathedral and the 20th century alchemist Fulcanelli’s assertion that the bas-reliefs describe in practical terms the Opus Magnum of the alchemists. 

Brian Cotnoir is an alchemist, artist, and award-winning filmmaker. A contributor to Frater Albertus’ Parachemy, he is also the author of a series of Alchemy Zines. His books include Alchemy: The Poetry of Matter (2017), The Weiser Concise Guide to AlchemyAlchemical MeditationsOn the Quintessence of Wine, and the Emerald Tablet, his translations of and commentary on, the earliest Arabic and Latin versions of this seminal text. His Emerald Tablet was part of the Language of the Birds: Occult and Art show in 2016 in New York City.

He occasionally gives talks and has presented workshops and seminars around the world on various aspects of alchemical theory and practice based on his research.

His film work has been screened at Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Film Festival, HBO, PBS and other international venues.

Khepri Press, launched in 2014 with the publication of the Emerald Tablet, is the vehicle and portal for his alchemical work.

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