Tolkien, artist

Homunculus...

My muse seems to have gone on a temporary vacation. I feel her floating around the edges of my life, but I'm too involved in reading right now to open her door. She'll have her opportunity in another 48 hours or so - just one more book to go and then I can allow my life to return to "normal" (which is, of course, a very relative term when applied to my life). So, since my brain is on vacation, it decided to visit the strange today. Today's discussion - the creation of a homunculus.



Two marvelous oil paintings by Fred Einaudi - The Homunculus and The Specimen


One of the characters in the latest book I am reading is a homunculus - a miniature human being created artificially using the bodily humors of a host mixed with chemicals, spells and formulas. I was vaguely familiar with the term, but wanted more information on it, so looked it up this morning. I found it pretty interesting, so I'm sharing with you today. The creation of a homunculus does seem to be highly associated with alchemy, and in the book I am reading it also is the creation of an alchemist. But there were many different recipe possibilities throughout human history, as well as many different uses to which they would be put - everything from guard to basic caretaker and housekeeper.


One ingredient agreed upon by most of the recipes was sperm. At one point in history, each sperm was thought to be a fully formed individual in extreme miniature that would be deposited in the womb and be nurtured there until birth. Supposedly any characteristics of the mother were imbued during this nine-month period. There have also been speculations of homunculi inside our heads. But some of the more interesting things were the recipes presented to make a homunculus of your own. Are you interested in a little helper of your very own? Check out the Wiki on it and start planning for the next full or new moon.
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I really enjoyed that series until I got to this book, but the homunculus creeped me out. I hope he's not too significant of a presence in the new book (comes out next week, I think?)
It was the making of Sebrahn that bothered me, the drinking of the tinctures, the 'purifying' of the blood. It held echoes of the experiments done at the Concentration Camps to me, and that's something that is always near and omnipresent in my life. But Sebrahn itself, how it grows and learns, its total devotion to Alec and, in turn, to Seregil...those were good things to me.

No doubt about it, Shadows Return was a dark book. And so far the White Road isn't lightening up much more, but I think that it will work. Sebrahn is the lynchpin of The White Road, but has a home and a place by the end of it, leaving our two heroes to work out their own problems once again.

- Erulisse (one L)
Interesting... (and now I want to use it in a fic, of course. ;)
It's been done, of course many times, and can be used very successfully. I look forward to seeing how you might use the concept.

- Erulisse (one L)
In the history of science course I did as part of my degree we studied the history of alchemy, so homunculus' were only considered from the alchemical point of view. One of the reasons considered for trying to create a homunculus was that if the alchemist could create life then he would be equal to God and would know the secrets of all creation. The same sort of aim was considered when alchemists were trying to turn base metal into gold.

Alchemy is an incredibly interesting topic and was the part of the course I enjoyed the most.

Edited at 2012-05-22 12:39 pm (UTC)
Since, as a female pagan, I would have been considered as someone who potentially might be able to make/use something like this, I have always found them of interest. But in the long run, I think I would rather have some ushebti. There is just something nice about having a small simulacrum speak up and volunteer for tasks that I would rather not perform.

Osiris - "You there! Stand up and empty out that chamber pot."

Ushebti - "I'll do it! Please? Let me (huh? huh?) please.... "

Me - "Oh...all right, little one. Knock yourself out and enjoy!"

- Erulisse (one L)
Shades of Voynich manuscript (one of my obcessions)

Actually, that sort of "magick" is very much like the Germanic and Nordic style lodges were so in to back in the day; using sex magic to create a small (or even normal sized) humanic duplicate to perform whatever they wanted. (Hand in hand with all that sex magic to performs rites and do Works as well.)

Either way you look at it however, it comes down to man's need to enslave; the poor hapless creature has no will of its own and therefore cannot object. So you make this creature, proving yourself equal to "god" and prove just how small is your view of "god"... or how non-existent it is if it can't be bothered to smash your nuts for you for creating and enslaving such a creature. Oh but wait! that's what "god" did as well.

Heha, full circle.

LOL
It's not just sex magick, though, Miz Mik. It's actually probably a bit closer to blood magic, although often semen is part of it. Either way you look at it though, it seems to crop up every now and again throughout history and in a variety of guises and it's always interesting.

Man seems to feel better (in many cases) just having someone/something around that is weaker than he who will obey him without question. And your point about a deity experiencing the same desire is certainly not misplaced. It is the desire to enslave vs the desire to break free that moves so much of the classic tales and sagas.

A variety of people have also pointed out that in some ways this detachment and lack of understanding for the entities that are placed under their control can also describe the First Born and their real inability to understand or truly associate with the Second Born. It's worth a thought, isn't it? Thanks for your thoughtful comment :-)

- Erulisse (one L)
A variety of people have also pointed out that in some ways this detachment and lack of understanding for the entities that are placed under their control can also describe the First Born and their real inability to understand or truly associate with the Second Born. It's worth a thought, isn't it?

Now see, that's a thought that has rattled around in my brain since I read the Silmarillion. The way the Valar (little sperms of god) were so determined to yank the eldar away from the world, segregate them, make them like their toys. It frosted me. Then when the Noldo took off, how freaking long did it take for those self same "gods" to get off their lazy butts to go fix what they should have fixed in the first place. Sheesh! And yet, looking at the Eldar and their inability or lack of finesse at handling relations with 2nd born, ... by the time they figure out what to do, the 2nd born has died. Slow thinking, careful thinking elves would probably be confused by all that. LOL I thought too, If I were immortal, I'd probably not want to be around those that die. How can I understand what I don't experience? And even if I did die, I go to Mandos's halls, not beyond the Rim as it were.

Bit of a rambling reply there, sorry. And your "Miz Mik" cracks me up each time. XD
And your "Miz Mik" cracks me up each time. XD

Oh good. I'm always afraid that a nick name may insult someone, and I had no intentions of doing that. But it just seemed appropriate, in some odd way, to you.

- Erulisse (one L)
I loved your comment about the Valar 'frosting' you. :-D
Amazing pictures. My Muses are being stubborn too and I want to write a Teitho story.
I turned in a story for Heirlooms already. I noticed that Teitho's main page still has the March stories and winners displayed. Oh well, I don't know their timeframe for when they put the April winners up there but it will be nice to see my third place and your notification ahead of me :-) (Well deserved, by the way, in case I forgot to tell you.)

Now...get to work on Heirlooms, you're running out of time...

- Erulisse (one L)
Thank you. They seem rather behind at Teitho at present, they need more volunteers who know how to update websites. I've asked for an extension until the end of the month. I'll look forward to reading your story.