Tolkien, artist


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)