A Touch of Idaho
"The real meaning of wilderness will open our eyes like
an Idaho sunrise on a summer morning."
--Senator Frank Church
Lewis & Clark Expedition
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
The Mormon Settlement
at Fort Lemhi
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 1871.
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.
If you'd like a book on the subject, take a look
Middle Fork & The Sheepeater War by Carrey & Conley
The River of No
River Idaho website and blog is filled with great information
and photos about the Salmon River. Here are a couple of photos
from the site of rapids:
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
For a pictorial history of
the Salmon River, look for hard-to-find but worth the trouble:
of No Return by Johnny Carrey & Cort Conley
here to purchase
Ancient Echoes by Joanne Pence
Alchemy is the art of transformation.
At 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 subject itself.
A 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:
of Alchemy (author, A. Cockren).
Alchemists 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 across.
Here's a simple example of alchemical symbolism:
The 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.)
Hermes Trismegistus 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:
Some legends 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" science
This is a replica of what it is imagined the tablet looked like:
Edward 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.
He 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.
Here are Kelley's own words on his life in Bohemia
and The Stone
of the Philosophers.
Here is a description of his years in Prague with
Rudolf II: The
Last Years of Edward Kelley, Alchemist to the Emperor
This is a scholarly work on Kelley and Dee: Edward
Kelley, John Dee & the Angelic Conversations
Finally, a short essay on John
Chinese alchemy also plays an important role in Ancient
Echoes. Anyone wishing to learn more about it is encouraged
to go to Mircea Eliade's The
Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy (2nd
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 what happened.
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 sinners.'
The Book of Abraham
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
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 about Rabbi
Click here to purchase
Echoes by Joanne Pence