magick, special interest
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The Perpetual Lamp

Lamp_of_Annius_Ser......,_with_figure_of_the_Good_Shepherd The perpetual lamp has been written about and pondered by many a spirtualist. The lamp is said to be a traditional light used in the tombs, and crypts of the early Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Rosicrucians, and Jewish people. The lamp was said, once sealed to burn for centuries without fail. Some, have even claimed that when the tombs were unearthed centuries later they found these lamps still burning. The method of how is up for conjecture.

It has been thought initially that the lamps may have been fed by underground source of petrolatum, oil and other naturally occuring fuels. While others such as Athanasius Kircher merely ascribed the lamps to be the trick of the devil trying to sway people the worship and praise of false Gods. But, even the bible gives mention to a perpetual lamp. In Exodus 27:20 “And you shall command the children of Israel, that they bring you pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.”

H.P. Blavatsky and Willy Schrodter also wrote a great deal on these perpetual lamps. Curiously both of them had a recipe for said perpetual lamps and Blavatsky even went as far as to decree “We may add that we have ourselves seen a lamp so prepared, and we are told that since it was first lighted on May 2, 1871, it has not gone out.” Now of course we have no way of knowing where this lamp may be and if it is still alight today but below you may find the recipe for such a lamp, as transcribed by Willy Schrodter.

1 1/2oz. flowers of sulphur
1 oz. burnt alum

and place them in a subliming pot after a thorough mixing. Place a similar pot mouth to mouth with this and seal the join well with potter’s cement. The pot with the mixture inside is set on a coal fire so that it becomes red hot for approximately one hour, and the sublimed fixed mass is taken out to be pulverized in a mortar. Half as much pure borax by weight is added to the resultant powder and the whole is then reduced to a similar powder in the mortar. This powder is placed in a shallow glass or porcelain basin and is covered with the most highly rectified spirit of wine (ethyl alcohol). The basin is now placed on hot ashes, held over a coal fire in a small caldron, and the spirit is allowed to evaporate slowly. When the mass runs thick like oil, a little of it is removed and laid on a red-hot sheet of copper. Now if the mass runs like wax without smoking, it is ready; but, if it still smokes, more spirit must be poured into the basin and evaporated as before, and the process is to be repeated until the samples no longer emit smoke when tested. The product is then ready.

A wick is now made, about 2 inches long and as thick as the piggest piece of quill. The material used is asbestos or white fibrous gypsum (steatite) bound with silk thread. The prepared mass is then placed in a strong glass made for the purpose, the wick is inserted and the preparation left standing for 24 hours in hot sand. The wick is the pulled up and a sufficiently large lamp chimney is made for it so that it is only slightly exposed at the top and the perepetually burning sulphur mass pours onto it, and the glass is placed in hot sand until the sulphur mass melts and collects around the wick. Finally, the lamp which has been prepared in this way is lit with a light and placed in a place where it will not be disturbed. It will then go on burning without ever going out.

Surprisingly, with the excpetion of the asbestos all of these items can still be purchased from a metal smithing or jewelery maker supplier. The science of it is not that completely unfounded. I should warn the reader though that if you plan to attempt this, inhaling, or handling asbestos has been known to cause mesothelioma and I will refer you to our terms of use.

The purpose of the perpetual lamp may have served as a two fold purpose, one to act as a ight for the deceased to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and the other as a testament to the importance of the deceased.

If you are interested in reading or learning more about these perpetual lamps I will refer you to my sources.

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