"The real meaning of wilderness will open our eyes like an Idaho
sunrise on a summer morning."
--Senator Frank Church
The brown line shows the route Lewis and Clark took to cross
Idaho. From where the city of Salmon is now, when they reached the "River
of No Return" they continued straight north until they reached what
is now called Lolo Pass, and from there continued West to the Pacific.
The "secret expedition" of the book attempted to travel west
just north of the Salmon River.
Fort Lemhi was founded in peace, not war. It was settled
by 27 Mormon missionaries as a mission to the Bannock and Shoshone Indians.
As more settlers joined them, tensions increased, until finally the missionaries
were driven back to Utah in 1858.
This is the only Tukudeka (Sheepeater) group portrait known.
It was taken by William Henry Jackson near the Idaho-Montana border in
The Sheepeater War was the last Indian war fought in the
Pacific Northwest. It took place in 1871 along the Middle Fork of the
Salmon River. Here is an account
of the war.
The Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness surrounds
the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and slightly north of the main Salmon.
In May, 1961, Senator Church said the following to an Idaho graduating
class: "I never knew a man who felt self-important in the morning
after spending the night inthe open on an Idaho mountainside, under a
star-studded summer sky. Save some time in your lives for the out-of-doors,
where you can be witness to the wonders of God." (from Trails
of the Franch Church-River of No Return Wilderness by Margaret Fuller.
Secrets of Alchemy
is the art of transformation.
its base level, alchemists wanted to transform common, valueless ores into
gold. But there are much higher levels of alchemy that move into the realm
of the spiritual and the religious. There are a tremendous number of books
on alchemy; unfortunately, many of them are as dense and esoteric as the
thorough but readable history of alchemy can be found at World
Wide School Library: Two Pseudo-Sciences--Alchemy and Astorlogy. Also,
the website "Alchemy Labs" presents a readable history: History
of Alchemy (author, A. Cockren).
were often persecuted as charlatans (especially those involved in the creation
of gold) or as being sacriligeous. Therefore, many alchemical texts are
written in codes and symbolism, even using religious symbols to get a point
a simple example of alchemical symbolism:
capital letters of the seven words in the outer circle, when read clockwise,
form the word SVLPHVR. From the five words in the second circle, when
read in a similar manner, is derived FIXVM. The capitals of the six words
in the inner circle, when properly arranged, also read EST SOL. The following
cipher is thus extracted: "Sulphur Fixum Est Sol," which when
translated is: "Fixed sulphur is gold." (From Brown’s
History of Chemistry as explained on the Univ
of Philosophical Research site.)
was probably not "a" man, but an amalgam of several. If he lived,
he was probably Egyptian, born centuries before the time of Christ. Over
the years the name has become combined with the Egyptian god Thoth, as
well as the Greek Hermes. Here is the most common depiction of him:
say he is the author of the Emerald Tablet which contains the secret of
the prima materia (a philosopher's stone) and its transmutation.
His influence on alchemy is so great, it is called the "hermetic"
This is a
replica of what it is imagined the tablet looked like:
Kelley (or Kelly), 1527-1608, plays an important role in the book (which
I cannot give away for those who haven't read it yet). He is known as
an alchemist, clairvoyant, self-declared medium, and a convicted criminal.
is probably best known for his work with John Dee who was a mathematician
and astrologer and then moved heavily into alchemy. After Kelley was invited
to the court of Rudolf II of Bohemia, Dee left him to return to England.
are Kelley's own words on his life in Bohemia and The
Stone of the Philosophers.
is a description of his years in Prague with Rudolf II: The
Last Years of Edward Kelley, Alchemist to the Emperor
is a scholarly work on Kelley and Dee: Edward
Kelley, John Dee & the Angelic Conversations
a short essay on John Dee.
alchemy also plays an important role in Ancient Echoes. Anyone
wishing to learn more about it is encouraged to go to Mircea Eliade's
Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy (2nd edition).
Strange Case of
Nicolas Flamel (1330-1417) is a real person who passed
into legend.The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris contains works copied
in his own hand and original works written by him. All the official
documents relating to his life have been found: his marriage contract,
his deeds of gift, his will.
It is known that he owned a small bookstall backing on
to the columns of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie in Paris. Copyists and
illuminators worked there.
It is a fact that somehow this man who should have had
little money, late in life began to found almshouses with low rents
for the poor, free hospitals, and endowed churches and convents. It
is said that he did not use his riches to increase his personal comfort,
and altered nothing in his modest life. Historian Louis Figuier wrote,
"Husband and wife lavished succor on the poor, founded hospitals,
built or repaired cemeteries, restored the front of Saint Genevieve
des Ardents and endowed the institution of the Quinze-Vingts, the blind
inmates of which, in memory of this fact, came every year to the church
of Saint Jacques la Boucherie to pray for their benefactor, a practice
which continued until 1789."
What isn't known is how he could afford to do that.
Amazingly, we have Nicolas Flamel's own description of
The full text of his exposition (the text that Charlotte
reads in Ancient Echoes) can be found here.The
Testament of Nicolas Flamel on the Book of Abraham the Jew.
The Crystalinks.com website has an excellent biography
of Flamel, along with photo of one of his houses: Flamel
Biography. The house is at 51 rue de Montmorency, and said to be
the oldest stone house in the city. An inscription on the wall reads:
'We, ploughmen and women living at the porch of this house, built in
1407, are requested to say every day an "Our Father" and an
"Ave Maria" praying God that His grace forgive poor and dead
The Book of Abraham the
If the book ever did exist, it has been lost. Even after
Nicolas Flamel's death, the people of Paris tore through his home and
business trying to find it. There are stories of him having given it
to a favorite relative, but there is no evidence to support it, and
even the relative is not found in histories of the time.
Even the author of the book is unknown. Most often he
is said to have been a Greek or Egyptian living in Alexandria shortly
after the time of Christ, but others say he was German, and lived around
1362-1460 (a very long life indeed!), and some scholars consider him
to be Abraham Eleazar whose work was published in 1774, although when
it was written is anyone's guess. His book begins thus:
Abraham Eleazar the Jew, a Prince, Priest, and Levite,
Astrologer and Philosopher, sprung from the root of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, wish my brethren, who through the anger of the Great God, lie
scatted her and there throughout the world and are caught in servitude,
much success and happiness in the Name of the soon coming Messiah and
of the great Prophet Elias, who has already prepared all his brethren.
Deni, Adonai, Bocitto, Ochysche 60 F, therefore wait in patience until
the Hero comes.
Marantha however, over all and sundry, not of the tribe of Judah,
who receive this book into their hands, that such must be destroyed
and perish, as the company of Korah, Dathan, Abiram and perish or vanish
in the Fire.
It is similar to what Flamel read, but who knows which came first?
Perhaps they were written by the same man, perhaps not. Here is more