Hillman: The blackness of inked letters supports its indelible fixity

By: Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator

Feb 12 2013

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Category: illuminated text

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Drawing by Theodoros Pelecanos, in alchemical tract titled Synosius (1478) (Ouroboros serpent in old Greek alchemical manuscript) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some quotes on “The Seduction of  Black” by James Hillman

“Therefore, each moment of blackening is a harbinger of alteration, of invisible discovery, and of dissolution and of attachments to whatever has been taken as dogmatic truth and reality, solid fact, or dogmatic virtue. It darkens and sophisticates the eye so it can see through.” p 89

“Remember here that the “word” in our culture is inked in black, and this selection of color for ink may be more than merely convenient and efficient. The very blackness of the linked letter supports its indelible fixity and the cursing power of literalism.” p 93

“[T]he Newtoninan convention, upheld by the dictionary, …excludes black from the realm of color because it is not concretely visible in the spectrum. Perhaps, however, the fault…results from black’s cursed literalism, its desire to be outide this world in the underworld of invisibilities, or in the dark kingdom of death.” p 94

“Becoming blacker than black would also bear upon the chaos and tragedy of what are misnamed “race” relations and are more truly color relations because they are reflections of alchemical processes whose intentions only peripherally  concern people.

“For the desire of alchemy was not merely toward the human soul, it sought the soul of the world. Alchemy is a cosmological; to follow an alchemical psychology at once leads to working with the world. Alchemy would re-animate the dense and neglected, sometimes called “matter,” and alchemy demands an ever-returning descent into that darkness, that invisibility called Hades.” p. 95

Hillman, J. (2010). The seduction of black. In Alchemical psychology (pp. 82-96). New Orleans, LA: Spring Publications.

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