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LOVE SENSUALITY DEVOTION

L.S.D. - The Title

 

The title of the album “Love Sensuality Devotion” has a double meaning. Apart from understanding it literally, one can also analyse it as an abbreviation formed from the first letters of each word – LSD…

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was one of the most popular drugs of the 20th century. LSD is usually produced synthetically, but it can also be made from ergotamine, a chemical from the fungus, ergot. A derivative of the lysergic acid, lysergic acid amide (LSA), can be found in Ipomea tricolor (morning glory) and Rivea corymbosa (a woody vine, commonly known by its Aztec name “olioliuqui”). Morning glory flowers were also used in preparation of psychedelic tea in the USA. LSA is not even nearly as powerful as LSD. Pure crystalline LSD-25 is insoluble in water, but its salt forms are, such as tartrates. Threshold effects of LSD can be felt with doses as extremely small as 0.002 mg per kg of body weight (which is equivalent to a dose of 0.0015 gram for an average person weighing 75 kg). Depending on its form (could be crystals or “blotters” – made by dipping a sheet of blotting paper into an LSD solution in order to be held under a tongue), first effects of LSD can be felt after 15-60 minutes and they can last up to 2-10 hours. The psychological effects (“trips”) can vary greatly depending on how much is used and how the brain responds – the hallucinations may be pleasant, but they can also resemble a nightmare. Another phenomenon related to taking LSD are the “flashbacks” – spontaneous, brief recurrences of hallucinations and illusion while not under the influence of LSD. Flashbacks can occur long-term after using LSD. The history of LSD-25 is a subject which would be enough to fill a whole book. LSD was first synthesized in the early 60s by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories. The army expressed particular interest in this drug due to the very small doses required and they soon included LSD in their chemical weapons arsenal. At the same time, LSD was presented to the psychologist and lecturer, Timothy Leary. Fascinated by the amazing opportunity to study human mind and personality that LSD gave him, Leary shared the drug with his students. Soon LSD became the latest trend, the iconic drug of the Beat Generation, and later also the hippies. So called “flash parties” were organised; one of them, organized in 1968 in Golden Gate Park, was attended by over fifteen thousand people. Another mark left by LSD in pop culture was The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.  In theory, the band denied having named the piece after the popular drug, but we will never know for sure…

According to the fact that the albums described here are actually compilations of songs from Enigma’s previous albums, we will only analyse the covers and the accompanying graphics here. Information about the songs themselves can be found in the Inspiration sections for each of the previous albums.

The covers and the graphics inside the album

The feature of the covers that immediately draws attention is the colour scheme. The colours seem to contrast with each other, one could even describe them as clashing. So the reference to the title “LSD” is quite evident, as the drug triggers visual hallucinations. The brain of the person on LSD works similarly to the brain of a schizophrenic. They start to see things which they could not see before, they experience various hallucinations, and view the colours as more fluorescent.  It is also worth noting that both covers feature a woman’s face, which is separated from the rest of her body. A butterfly is flying above her head – a symbol of transformation, immortality, and the transfiguration of a soul into its more sublime form.

The picture shown on the left was used in the designs of both “LSD” album covers. The graphic has been taken from the compendium of alchemical texts “Museaum Hermeticum” (Hermetic Museum),which was first published in 1678 in Frankfurt and then re-reprinted in Latin in 1749.

The picture on the left has been taken from the encyclopaedia “Utriusque Cosmi Historia” by Robert Fludd (Oppenheim, 1617). This diagram is supposed to sum up all the knowledge available to a man and describe the world according to the theories of macro- and microcosm. In this picture, the macrocosm is symbolised by the zodiac signs and planets, with the man, symbol of microcosm, inscribed inside the macrocosmic circles. The traditional Gnosticism, to which Fludd’s beliefs belong, claimed that the creator of the universe, Demiurge, personifies the dualism: he is good and evil, he is light and darkness. He was the beginning of time – which is symbolised by the hourglass – and so the beginning of cosmos, but at the same time he exists outside time. The mentality of this period was characterised by the belief that the motion of the universe is caused by a mechanical force (a rope!). This view became more popular several dozen years later, when Isaac Newton published his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin for Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) in 1687. This work stated the universal laws of mechanics, nowadays known as Newton’s laws of motion.

Robert Fludd – a biographical overview

Robert Fludd, also known as Robertus de Fluctibus (born 1574 in Milgate, died 1637 in London) , was a prominent English doctor, writer, philosopher, alchemist, and natural magician. He popularised the Paracelsian science and medicine in England. His works included “Clavis Philosophiæ et Alchimiæ” (Key to Philosophy and Alchemy), where he presented the views of the Rosicrucian doctrine, and “Tractatus Apologeticus” (Defence treatise), where he defended the Rosicrucian thoughts against the accusations of their opposition. He is the author of the Microcosm diagram of the mind (shown in the picture above), derived from cruder versions in predecessors, such as Albertus Magnus and Gregor Reisch.

The graphic on the left has been taken from Athanasius Kircher’s book “Arca Noe” (Amsterdam 1675), which was dedicated to the twelve-year-old Charles II, the King of Spain. A lot of mythologies around the world, despite the vast cultural differences between them, feature a similar myth about a great flood. The Old Babylonian Gilgamesh flood myth written over 4000 years ago is referenced by many other mythologies, such as Greek, Indian, Polynesian and others. Old Testament tells the story of a flood that lasted forty days and forty nights, accompanied by speculations about how the animals were saved from it. As it is widely known, Noah was given a warning of the forthcoming God’s punishment as a reward for his devotion. God gave instructions to Noah for saving his family and animals. Noah thoroughly prepared himself for the storm and built a waterproof vessel which is speculated to have been 160 metres long. The ark housed his immediate family (three sons and their wives), along with samples of animal life, two from each kind, in order to preserve all species. Scholars had been wondering for many generations which animals were granted this privilege. In a sense, the ark constituted a first gene bank, as both Noah and the animals placed on it became the primogenitors of their species. A Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1601 – 1668) conducted research, analysed all the available sources, and concluded that the ark could house up to 310 animal species. Kircher, often referred to as “the last Renaissance man”, was one of the greatest scholars of his times. Of course, now we know that there are over thirty million animal species existing on Earth. Even if we exclude species which did not require shelter during flood, such as birds, fish, insects, and the parasites carried by the animals housed on the ark, that still leaves us with a dozen or so million terrestrial animal species, which could not physically fit on the ark. Luckily, the problem disappeared when the Church accepted the theory of evolution. The only issue would be the speed at which this evolution would have to happen. But this is a completely different matter. Considering his body shape, the man presented on the picture on the left is probably supposed to symbolise the model which inspired Noah when building his ark.

Athanasius – a biography

 

Athanasius was born at three in the morning on 2 May (on the feastday of St. Athanasius, hence his name), 1602, in Geisa, a small town located 26 km northeast of Fulda, Germany.  Johann Kircher, Athanasius’ father, had won a doctorate in philosophy at Mainz and had been an instructor to the Benedictine monks at Heiligenstadt. Johann owned an enormous library which was unfortunately destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War.

Athanasius, the youngest of nine children, was sent to the local Jesuit school. At the same time, his father arranged for him to study Hebrew under a local rabbi. Athanasius’ youth was full of adventures, which he fondly presented in his books.

Athanasius had his first near-death experience when he was four. One day in summer he went to swim in the river. Just downstream from his bathing place the water rushed down a cataract and over a mill wheel. Athanasius, venturing too near, was swept away by the current and pulled beneath the wheel. All his friends expected to see his body torn apart by the wheel, but Athanasius miraculously escaped without injury, only a little bit shocked. On another occasion he had squirmed his way to the front of a crowd of bystanders at the annual horse race. As the horses approached, the crowd surged forward, throwing the young Athanasius into the horses’ path. Everyone thought he was dead, but to their amazement, Kircher, who had curled up into a tiny ball, stood up unharmed. His strong adventurous spirit caused him a lot of trouble once again, when he set out for a two-day trip to see one of the cities nearby.  He got lost in the woods on his way back and spent the night on a tree out of his fear of raiders, wild boars and bears. When he was fifteen, he spent much of his time skating on the frozen rivers. One day, in a moment of youthful bravado, he suffered a hernia. Shortly after that, because of long exposure to the cold, severe chilblains appeared on his legs and began to fester. Despite the medical aid, the sores worsened, gangrene set in, and Athanasius was pronounced incurable. But his legs healed suddenly after he prayed fervently to the Blessed Virgin. Athanasius would later describe this near-death experience as a small miracle. He would say that having received such a great deal of divine protection made him feel privileged, chosen by God to fulfil his special destiny. After his application to the Jesuit college at Mainz was refused, he was admitted as a novice to the college at Paderborn in 1618. His teachers regarded him as rather stupid due to his excessive submissiveness, which prevented them from noticing how much more intelligent than the other students Athanasius was.

The two years of his novitiate passed in 1620. Kircher took his vows and went on to study Scholastic philosophy. He was unable to continue his studies at Paderborn for long, though, as the Thirty Years War was about to burst upon Germany. In 1621 Duke Christian of Brunswick, known for his hatred of Catholics, moved his mercenaries into the diocese of Paderborn.  In 1622 Jesuits of the college were ordered to flee. A few were caught, beaten, and imprisoned. Kircher and two companions managed to escape, but their situation was far from ideal: they struggled for many days through deep snow, penniless and begging their food, until one noble Catholic of good will gave them shelter and support. After a week of recuperation at the Jesuit college at Munster, Athanasius and his friends were advised to continue their journey toward Cologne. They walked past Düsseldorf and arrived at Rhine, where they had to cross a frozen over river. They local peasants told them where the ice was safe to cross, but halfway through the ice split, and the piece Kircher was on was swept down river, bearing him out of sight of his companions. His friends, similarly to his childhood pals erstwhile, were certain that they would never see him again. But Athanasius did not give up: he dove in and tried to swim. Having reached shallow water, he staggered up the bank and walked for another three hours , which brought him to the Jesuit college at Neuss. Three days later he had fully recuperated, and the novices completed their journey to Cologne, where Kircher went back into education and finished his degree in philosophy.

In 1623 Kircher was transferred to Coblenz to review his studies in the humanities and to teach Greek at the Jesuit college. He dropped his submissive attitude, exposing his extraordinary abilities. The initial amazement among the other professors soon turned into envy. In order to avoid trouble, Athanasius’ superiors transferred him to the college at Heiligenstadt in Saxony – the same city that his father taught in. The dangerous path to Heiligenstadt passed through war-torn Germany, and no Catholics, especially Jesuits, were safe inside the now fanatically Protestant country. Kircher was warned to travel in disguise. But he stubbornly refused, saying that he would rather die in his cassock than make it through safely in lay clothes… The protestant horsemen heard about his attitude and so Kircher was waylaid, stripped, beaten, and dragged between two horses to a tree chosen for his gallows. Kircher decided that all that was left for him to do, was to surrender his soul to God. One of the soldiers, however, impressed by Kircher’s quiet demeanour and long-suffering, pleaded with the priest for the life of the young Jesuit. The horsemen capitulated and rode off, leaving Kircher’s clothes and books behind. What is more, the soldier gave Kircher money, and urged him to leave the territory as quickly as possible. Two days later, Kircher arrived in Heiligenstadt, where he soon began to teach classes in mathematics, Hebrew, and Syriac. He drew the attention of his superiors on one occasion when, assigned to prepare the reception and entertainment for legates sent by the elector-archbishop of Mainz, thirty-year-old Kircher, passionate about mechanical devices, designed a display of large-scale optical illusions and fireworks. It astounded the legates so much that some accused him of witchcraft, until he explained the workings of the exhibits. Kircher was subsequently called to the archbishop’s residence in Aschaffenburg, who freed him from his student’s promise and encouraged him to continue his experimental work, thereby making the principality renowned for such projects. Kircher continued his research for three months. He was mainly interested in magnetism, which resulted in him writing his first book, Ars magnesia (1631).When the archbishop died, Kircher went to the college at Mainz, where he stayed for the next four years. Apart from taking up the study of theology, in 1625 he acquired a telescope through which he examined the then controversial sunspots. In 1628 Kircher was ordained a Jesuit priest and entered his tertianship at Speier. Up until then, he considered himself mainly a scientist.  A whole new world of humanities opened before him when he stumbled upon a volume containing illustrations of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics taken from obelisks erected by Pope Sixtus V in Rome. His fascination by the mysterious and, as yet, undeciphered  symbols would later result in his supreme work “Oedipus Aegyptiacus”.  At that moment, however, the work had to be put on hold for some time, as a year later Kircher was sent to teach in Würzburg. Doubtless Kircher felt it was not time to settle down and in 1630 he petitioned the superior general of the Order to send him as a missionary to China. His petition was denied and he had to make do with the material collected by other missionaries. However, he did not have to wait long for a new adventure, as year 1631 marked the Swedish invasion of Franconia.

One stormy night Kircher was looking out of his window and was astounded to find armed men drilling in the courtyard. He considered this a hallucination, as no one else saw this nor suspected anything bad coming. However, within the year, Gustav Adolph, the Protestant warrior-king of Sweden, invaded Franconia. Kircher fled to Mainz with his friend and disciple Gaspar Schott, leaving all his possessions behind. It was obvious for everyone that the Jesuit college stood no chance against the Protestant Swedes. That same year Kircher’s superiors gave him permission to move to France and leave Germany behind once and for all. Having passed Lyon, he took up residence in Avignon, teaching mathematics, philosophy and oriental languages at the Jesuit college.

Kircher had always had a tendency for accidents. He had too many near-death experiences to count, all of which were caused by his natural curiosity – the same one that led to his greatest scientific experiments. News of Kircher linguistic achievements and interest in Egyptian hieroglyphics reached Nicolaus Claude Fabri de Peiresc, an avid patron of scholarship and the sciences, who later became Kircher’s link to the cosmopolitan world. Peiresc invited Kircher to come to his mansion to work on several Egyptian papyri. He provided Athanasius with a copy of the Bembine tablet; Kircher also borrowed several rare books from the Jesuit library in Speier. His research was already underway, when in 1633 he was called to Vienna by the emperor to succeed Johannes Kepler as Mathematician to the Habsburg court. Kircher was reluctantly preparing himself to go, but Peiresc wrote letters to his friend Cardinal Francis Barberini and to Pope Urban VIII asking them to countermand the order. Meanwhile, Kircher had obediently set out on the long journey to Vienna. The route through Germany was suicide for a Jesuit, so he decided to travel through northern Italy into Austria. Him and a few Jesuit companions took a ship from Marseilles to Genoa. They were miserably seasick, so the captain left them stranded on the desert island, enriched by their passage money and their possessions.  Later that day the hapless Jesuits managed to hail a fishing boat and were hauled back to Marseilles. This time they set out for Genoa on a more reputable ship. For three days the ship held up in a sheltered cove for fear of the violent storm. Finally the captain decided to risk the high seas, but the tempest became more violent as the day passed, pushing the ship towards the shore.  The captain decided to make a desperate attempt to reach a natural cavern which was not much larger than the boat, and barely scraped it through the entrance. When Kircher and his companions finally reached Genoa, they recuperated there for two weeks and then embarked on a ship to Loreto, ninety miles south of Genoa – apparently they were in no rush to get to Vienna. Kircher was not even surprised when a gale blew them off course and they were forced to lay up on the island of Corsica. When they put to sea again, another storm blew them southeast and deposited them in Civitavecchia, the main port of Rome. Kircher’s unintended arrival in Rome in 1635 proved providential, for when he had walked the 40 miles from Civitavecchia to visit the Eternal City, to his amazement he found that he was expected. Peiresc’s entreaties had been effective and Kircher was no longer required  at the emperor’s court.  He was allowed to stay at the Roman College, the center of the Jesuit educational system, where he continued his work on hieroglyphics. Soon the college became his home, and that never changed until the end of his life. The college provided him with everything he needed for his research and experiments: free time, assistants, and funds. In 1636 Frederick of Hesse , landgrave of the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, converted to Catholicism, largely through Kircher’s efforts. He joined the Catholic church during an official ceremony in Rome, and was later appointed a cardinal. Fascinated by Kircher, Frederick asked him to accompany him on his journeys through Italy as his confessor.  The company first set out for Sicily, and later for Malta, where Kircher seized the opportunity to experience new areas of natural sciences: zoology, volcanoes, the Fata Morgana phenomenon and many more.  Kircher was especially eager to visit Syracuse, as he wanted to see for himself if it was really possible for Archimedes to have set Roman ships afire in the port by concentrating the sun’s rays upon them with mirrors. In March 1638, while sailing back to Italy, the travellers witnessed an eruption of Aetna and Stromboli. When they arrived in Tropea, the activity of nearby Vesuvius caused a minor earthquake and destruction of the gulf of St. Euphemia. When in Naples, Kircher resolved to see Vesuvius up close before leaving southern Italy, despite the threat of it erupting again. His natural curiosity and spirit of adventure had certainly not waned, for he not only climbed the volcano but had himself lowered into the crater for a closer look. The journey to Italy was his last great adventure – from 1638 onwards, he would only set out on local trips.

In the Roman College he occupied the chair of mathematics for eight years, after which he was freed from his teaching duties. Later, he started publishing his great works on various subjects. His high reputation among the scientists resulted in him receiving many letters, manuscripts, and relics from all around the world. He owned remarkable collections of different curiosities, works of art, exhibits of natural history and scientific apparatus.

After his death Museum Kircherianum was established, which competed against the Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum for the title of the first museum of scientific publications.

Despite floods, plagues, and social distress that Rome had to face, Kircher never stopped working, publishing a book after book, writing hundreds of letters, and recording conversations with his countless visitors. The princes visiting him always willingly gave up exhibits from their personal collections if only asked. The list of guests who were always more than welcome at Kircher’s place included scholars, such as the English Jesuit and royalist William Gascoignes (inventor of the telescopic sight), artists, such as the French painter Nicolas Poussin, who received instructions from Kircher on how to use perspective, and Gaspar Schott, Kircher’s disciple from Würzburg and the editor and publisher of his works.

As Kircher grew older, he became more and more devout. In 1661, while gathering geographic and historical information for his new book, he came upon an ancient church in Marino. An inscription near the crumbling altar declared that the shrine was erected by Constantine where Saint Eustachius saw a vision of the crucified Christ between a stag’s antlers and was converted. Kircher was determined to restore the chapel to its ancient splendour and status as a place of pilgrimage. Soon donations began to pour in, thanks to Kircher’s popularity and connections. Every year thereafter at Michaelmas (29 September), Kircher and other Jesuits welcomed pilgrims to the shrine. The chapel became the most frequently attended place of the time. Kircher’s account on his archaeological works and travels outside Rome formed the basis of his next book, Latium. In 1670s his works were mostly published by Schott.

Johann Stephan Kestler put together a summary of Kircher’s most successful experiments, entitled “Physiologia Kircheriana Experimentalis” . It was a concise, well edited compendium. Father Reilly described it as “an example of what Kircher’s writings could have been like at the hands of a good editor”.

In the last decade of his life, Kircher had to face vicious criticism and abuse from alchemists who no longer feared the authority of the Jesuit order. His health was declining as well. From 1678 onwards, he mainly engaged in spiritual exercises. He died on 27th November 1680. His remains were buried at Il Gesú near the Collegio Romano, but his heart was carried to Mentorella and entombed beneath the altar of his beloved shrine.

The picture on the left has been taken from the manuscript “Paradoxa, Emblemata, Aenigmata, Hieroglyphica, de Uno, Toto, Puncto, Centro” (approx. 1717-1720) by the philosopher Dionysius Andreas Freher (1649 – 1728). The figure depicted on the graphic is meant to represent a man standing between good and evil, between love and hatred. This symbolic picture shows that a man can either become an angel or a devil, depending on the path he chooses.

The picture on the left is featured in “LSD – The Remix Collection”. The graphic has been taken from “Obeliscus Pamohilius” (Rome, 1650) a book by the aforementioned Athanasius Kircher. Here we can see a sun with various alchemic symbols and planet elements placed between its rays. The sun is enclosed in a circle containing the twelve Zodiac signs which represent the Pagan gods. Pictures of plants symbolising the four seasons of the year can be found in each corner of the graphic.

The picture on the left can be found on the cover of “The Remix Collection”. It depicts an incubus trying to engage in sexual activity with a mortal woman.

Incubus and succubus demons

The incubi and succubae are demons that take the form of beautiful young men and women in order to seduce the mortals and engage in sexual activity with them.

The motive of mortal women being seduced by gods, monsters, demons, and other demonic creatures, is present in every single mythology in the world. Such relationships most commonly resulted in birth of heroic offspring (Heracles, Perseus, Palaemon, Cúchulainn, Väinämöinen), powerful magicians (Merlin) or other extraordinary figures (beautiful Helen of Troy). Therefore, in most cultures no one blamed the gods for their affairs with mortal women – maybe apart from the husbands who were cheated on. The goddesses were not so innocent either. They also liked to have fun with mortal men from time to time (sometimes resulting in offspring too, such as Gilgamesh, Achilles or Aeneas) and no one condemned them for that either. The modern cultures drifted away from such a model – even though the motive of “the Son of God” survived, the idea of sexual relationships between God and mortal women is inconceivable. When genophobia, crazy misogyny, and fierce antifeminism arose among the clergy, sexuality started to be viewed as Satan’s realm, his instrument for leading people into sin. The demons, male incubi (incubare – to lie upon) and female succubae (succubare – to lie under), were considered the executors of Satan’s plans. Thomas Aquinas is credited with inventing both these names.

Initially the demons disturbed and seduced their targets in their sleep, which clearly suggested that the victims were innocent and helpless – because who could possibly defend themselves against their dreams? But this theory was soon challenged.

In the papal bull “Summis desiderantes affectibus” (1484), Pope Innocent VIII expressed his concerns regarding these demonic activities:  “It has recently come to our ears, not without great pain to us, that in some parts of upper Germany, as well as in the provinces, cities, territories, regions, and dioceses of Mainz, Koin, Trier, Salzburg, and Bremen, many persons of both sexes, heedless of their own salvation and forsaking the catholic faith , give themselves over to devils male and female, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurings, and by other abominable superstitions and sortilege, offences, crimes, and misdeeds, ruin and cause to perish the offspring of women, the foal of animals, the products of the earth, the grapes of vines…”

His Holiness Innocent (who was actually not innocent at all – in fact, he was quite a reveller, had multiple mistresses and two illegitimate children) called for help of two Black Friars, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. Soon after “Malleus Maleficarum” (1489) was published, which preached:

“…the witches themselves have often been seen lying on their backs in the fields or the woods, naked up to the very navel, and it has been apparent from the disposition of those limbs and members which pertain to the venereal act and orgasm, as also from the agitation of their legs and thighs, that, all invisibly to the bystanders, they have been copulating with Incubus devils; yet sometimes, howbeit this is rare, at the end of the act a very black vapour, of about the stature of a man, rises up into the air from the witch…”

Acts like that even had a “scientific” name: concubitus contra naturam cum creatura spirituali.

The church representatives drifted from the ancient myths and legends in one other important matter: they claimed that offspring cannot be conceived as a result of a sexual act of a mortal with a succubus or incubus. They justified this by saying: procreare hominem est actus vivi corporis, sed daemones sumptis corporibus non dant vitam. This thesis was actively fought against by Martin Luther. He claimed that disabled, deformed, abnormal children were in fact Satan’s offspring , evidence that their mother copulated with the devil. The Augustinian friar believed that such children should have been exterminated. Apparently, the great reformer was in some areas irreformable himself.

The graphic featured on the cover of “The Remix Collection” depicts two children, a boy and a girl sitting on a rose bush. They are symbols of birth who see each other as their other halves.

The graphic shown on the left has been used in the design of the cover of the single “Sadeness Part I” and also the album “LSD (The Greatest Hits)”. It has been borrowed from Nicolas le Rouge’s “Le grant kalendrier des Bergiers” (Troyes, 1496). It shows the punishment in Hell for commitment of the seven deadly sins, where the sinners are dismembered alive for commitment of the fifth sin – wrath.

 

© Credits:

Adrian Rode (author)
Marcin Papke (translation, images and review)