Myths, symbols & folklore
quintessence: A concept imported into everyday usage from the world of alchemy where it was believed that the four elements of ancient cosmology (earth, sky, fire, and water) were complimented by a "fifth essence": the pure, ethereal world-spirit. The alchemist's spiritual focus on essence, rather than matter, was supposed to increase the proportion of the fifth essence in the make-up of the entire world. The quintessence was thought to be present within each of the other four elements as its sublime creature: in water as the dolphin, in fire as the phoenix, in the air as the eagle, and on earth as the human race. At the same time, the quintessence was believed to envelop and extend beyond each of the others. The graphic symbol corresponding to the quintessence is the pentacle. (Biedermann)
Also, was feeling low last night, so picked up one of my Billy Collins collections and found this fantastic poem again.
If Kafka could turn a man into an insect in one sentence
perhaps he could transform me into something new,
a slow willful river running through a forest,
or simply the German word for river, a handful of letters
hidden in the dark alphabetical order of a dictionary.
Not that I am so miserable, but i could use a change
of scenery and substance, plus the weather reminds me of him.
I imagine Kafka at his desk: the nib of his pen,
like the beak of a bird, disturbs the surface of a pool of ink,
and he writes a sentence at the top of a page
changing me into a goldfish or a lost mitten
or a cord of split wood or the New York Public Library.
Ah, to awaken one morning as the New York Public Library.
I would pass the days observing old men in raincoats
as they mounted the ponderous steps between the lions
carrying wild and scribbled notes inside their pockets.
I would feel the pages of books turning inside me like butterflies.
I would stare over Fifth Avenue with a perfectly straight face.