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30 June 2005 @ 05:54 am
Meanings to the text in the Transmutation Circles  
Hello, everyone. Long time Fullmetal fan here, new member to the community. Dunno if this has been discussed before but I've found out that all the random words tossed into the transmutation circles and the papers Ed's given by Fuhrer King Bradley actually have a meaning behind 'em.

Turns out they're parts taken from a book written in the 1400s by George Ripley, an actual Alchemist of the times. The book is titled Recapitulation of the Twelve Gates. Seems like Hiromu Arakawa did some heavy research on this kinda stuff and it's a real treat for those who happen to catch on to this.

I'll LJ Cut the entire text so as not to cause any problems for those who wanna skip over it. :P

So to bring this treatise to a final end,
And briefly to conclude all these secrets here,
Diligently look at and attend to your figure,
Which contains in it all these secrets great and small,
And if you conceive it, both theoretically and practically,
By figures and colours, by scripture plain,
he wisely conceived, you may not work in vain.

Consider first the latitude of this precious stone,
Begining in the first side noted in the West,
Where the red man and the white woman be made one,
Espoused with the spirit of life to live in rest,
Earth and water equally proportioned, that is best,
And one part of the earth is good, and of the spirit three,
Which twelve to four also of the earth maybe.

Three of the wif, and one of the man you take,
And the less of the spirit in this dispousation,
The better you Calcination for certain you shall make,
Then forth into the North proceed by obscuration,
Called the Eclipsing of the red man and his white wife,
Loosening them and altering them between winter and spring,
Turning earth into water, dark and nothing clear.

From thence by many colours into the East ascend,
Then shall the Moon be full appearing by day light,
Then is the purgatory passed and her course at an end,
There is the uprising of the sun appearing bright,
There is Summer after Spring, and day after night:
The earth and water which were black be turned to air,
And clouds of darkness blown over, and all appears fair.

And as the beginning of your practice was in the West,
And in the North the perfect mean of pround alteration,
So in the East after them is the beginning of speculation,
But of this course the Sun makes consumation up in the South,
There the elements are turned into fire by circulation,
Then to win your desire you need not be in doubt,
For the wheel of our philosophy you have turned about.

But turn your wheel about again two times,
Which being comprehended all the secrets of our philosophy,
In twelve chapters made plain to you, if you conceive this well,
And all the secrets by and by of our lower Astronomy,
Of how you shall calcine bodies, perfect, dissolve, divide, and putrefy,
With perfect knowledge of all the poles which be in our heaven,
Shining with inexplicable colours, never were a scene more gay.

And thus our secret conclusion know without fail,
Our red man tinges not, nor his wife, until they being tinged,
Therefore if you will lift yourself by this craft to avail,
Hide the altitude of bodies and show out their profundity,
Destroying the first quality in every one of your materials,
And repair anon in them secondary qualities more glorious,
And in one glass, and with one rule, turn four natures into one.

Pale and black with false citrine, imperfect white and red,
The Peacock's feathers in gay colours, the rainbow, which shall go over,
The spotted panther, the lion green, the Crows bill blue as lead.
These shall appear before you perfect white, and many more others.
And after the perfect white, grey, false citrine also,
And after these, there shall appear the red body invariable,
Then you have a medicine of the third order of his own kind multipliable.


You must divide your white Elixir into two parts,
Before you rubify and into two glasses let these be done,
If you will have your Elixir for Sun and Moon do both so,
And multiply these soon into Mercury to great quantity,
And even if you had not at the beginning enough to fill a spoon,
Yet may you so multiply both white and red,
That if you live a thousand years, they shall stand you instead.

Therefore I counsel you have recourse to your wheel,
And study well to know each chapter truly,
Meddle with no phantastic multipliers, but let them be,
Who will flatter you, feigning to be cunning in Philosophy,
Do as I bid you, then dissolve these aforesaid bases wisely.
And turn them into perfect oils with our true ardent water,
By circulation that must be done according to our intent.

These oils will fix crude Mercury and convert all bodies,
Into perfect Sun and Moon when you shall make Profection,
That only substance pure and fixed which Raimund Lully did call,
His Basilisk, of which he never made so plain detection,
Pray for me to God, that I may be one of his elect,
And that he will at dommsday know me for one of his,
And grant me his bliss to reign with him forever. Amen


@_o; Took me an hour to write that all down. The italicized text is what usually appears in nearly every episode of Fullmetal. It appears in the documents on the desk during Al's explanation of Equivalent Exchange, inside of the transmutation circles (even on the DVDs by FUNimation), and several other places. George Ripley was rumored to have created gold that he supplied by way of the Philosopher's Stone, but apparently nothing been proven by that.

Interesting, no?
 
 
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
 
 
The ►Charismatic◄ Dream: Elricest Loveindividual on June 30th, 2005 03:13 am (UTC)
And thus our secret conclusion know without fail,
Our red man tinges not, nor his wife, until they being tinged,
Therefore if you will lift yourself by this craft to avail,
Hide the altitude of bodies and show out their profundity,
Destroying the first quality in every one of your materials,
And repair anon in them secondary qualities more glorious,
And in one glass, and with one rule, turn four natures into one.


You must divide your white Elixir into two parts,
Before you rubify and into two glasses let these be done,
If you will have your Elixir for Sun and Moon do both so,
And multiply these soon into Mercury to great quantity,
And even if you had not at the beginning enough to fill a spoon,
Yet may you so multiply both white and red,
That if you live a thousand years, they shall stand you instead.


The first part reminded me of Scar, and how the Ishbalans would get exiled for attempting alchemy. The second part reminded me of Hohenheim, and his attempt to live with the Philosopher's Stone. This was really interesting. I've been trying to read those FUNi DVDs for a while, so this was helpful.

For some reason, when it talks about the 'red man' and 'white woman', I get reminded of a Ishbalan man and a 'normal' woman. Werid huh?

Thank you for sharing this. Great Job. ^__^

lord_pachi: elrics_childhoodlord_pachi on June 30th, 2005 04:43 am (UTC)
I thought the exact same thing about "red man" and "white woman"...........not that weird, really. It is cool though that how he keeps talking about red men, which seems to obviously refer to Ishbalans. At least to our minds. ^.^
grenvillegrenville on June 30th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
Actually, in "RL" alchemy, the red man and white woman are the Red King and White Queen, which, if I remember correctly, are like Yang and Yin (respectively). :D;
The ►Charismatic◄ Dream: <3333 Hughes x Roy Love!!individual on June 30th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
And mega icon love. ^__^;;
Captain Chrismyuutsuuman on June 30th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
Yeah, while writing it down, I noticed that alot of portions of the texts ends up kinda reminding me of things that occured in the anime. The red and white part indeed remind me of a certain two people.

As for my icon, it was a fluke. I paused my DVD at an ackward time and found a rather hilarious frame. ^^;
Rappydappydappy McTappyraptorix on June 30th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
*wishes she had awesome DVD still capture skills!* @_@ I shall join individual in icon love of your icon.... :3
lord_pachilord_pachi on June 30th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
Oooo.....that is cool. I need to find me some alchemical texts to read some time, and find even more hidden references to FMA. :D
momma_gem: book pilemomma_gem on June 30th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
Great research!! Thank you! Did you find anything that might be a source for the alchemy text that Ed and Al first learn from? I thought it looked like the description of a building, when I paused and read it. It's been a while since I paused there, though.

MG
xoeexoee on June 30th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC)
According to a site I found, the book is called "Alchemy and Herbalists," published by Bastion Press for Dungeons and Dragons. o-o; I just paused the screen there, too, and it's talking about NPCs and such. xDD
Here's the site:
http://www.fullmetalalchemist.info/misc.html
Captain Chrismyuutsuuman on June 30th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC)
So I wasn't the only one who figured out the info regarding Ripley's texts. Darn. XD
I'll spare his life but only for you, sugarpantssoap_committee on June 30th, 2005 07:53 am (UTC)
I thought all of that was Engrish, not poetry! :o
Rappydappydappy McTappy: Mad Ninjaraptorix on June 30th, 2005 08:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, I also heard they've used D&D game manuals snippets for the english filler texts for other 'documents' that show up in the anime, (not sure which episode and what part, but I've heard of it).

See, the key is that Bones gets lazy trying to write up enough viable English onto written document props that they just find some books, and copy and paste the literature from there onto whatever they need... ^^
Marikaitou_marina on June 30th, 2005 09:53 am (UTC)
It's not really that they get lazy. Pretty much ALL anime uses filler text like that. Hell, AMERICAN TV uses filler text like that. It's not about the animators/directors/whatever being lazy, they're just filling up space with what looks good. You're not even usually supposed to be able to read the text. It's just one of those conventions in anime that's to be expected.
Captain Chrismyuutsuuman on June 30th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
The way I see it, it seems more like Easter Egg stuff that those who do study Alchemy can catch if they look hard enough. It's no suprise they'd use so many actual real life texts regarding Alchemy for them.
Vickinacilme on June 30th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...thats really interesting.

I always tried reading what it said on the transmutation circle on my dvd's...I got some of it, but now I actually know the bits I couldn't make out! Thank ya!
Penduchess_icons on June 30th, 2005 04:11 pm (UTC)
Excellent--thanks for this!
Cuddlefishmoumusu on July 1st, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering what that stuff with the peacock feathers and the white were connected to, but I thought somebody had already figured it out, so.

It's kind of...dreamy. Sigh... ≡∇≡