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Gothic symbols

by on August 22nd, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

We have evidence of jewellery used as decorative adornment dating back as far as between 90,000 and 100,000 years ago. But as mankind progressed and our understanding grew, jewellery changed from merely decorations to representations and reflections; jewellery started to serve as a symbol of wealth and/or status, as well as to protect against harm, ward off evil, and heal ailments. And through the years and across continents from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, Asia and India to the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian eras an indeed to modern day, shining examples of such adornment have opened a window to the soul of humanity and shed light on our thoughts, dreams, beliefs and desires.

It is not difficult therefore, to understand why the alternative scene has embraced this means of decoration. Already very demonstrative in their means of attire, jewellery adds the embellishments and can act as icons of their philosophies for the more spiritual among us. Indeed many of the ancient symbols are often found in our ornamental adornment. However, how much meaning and power is put in these pieces vary from wearer to wearer. Sometimes it’s the simple aesthetic of the design that appeals and not its deeper meaning. But whether you wear to decorate or to invoke, it’s still good to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the myth behind the symbol that hangs glittering from your neck, ears and arms. And here I list a few of the most common:

Ankh: the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “key of life” and symbolises eternal life. For this reason the symbol has since been associated with many vampyric themes too.

Latin Cross: this is the standard cross, with the base stem being longer than the other three arms. This is the principle symbol of the Christain religion recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. It therefore again has the ideas of death and rebirth and the promise of an eternal life after salvation.

Pentagram: This symbol has gone through many incarnations and been adopted through the years by various faiths. Starting out as a Sumerian glyph it was later used in Christianity to symbolise the five sense and five wounds of Christ. By the mid 19th century it started being used as a magical symbol in the occult arts. Today it is most often associated with paganism and witchcraft with the two orientations (point at the top and point at the bottom) broadly representing the “good” and “evil” forces (a whole article can be written here on the interpretations and understandings of each…)

The Gothic Ankh was my very first Alchemy purchase and is still one of my most treasured pieces of jewellery. The ankh has always been one of my favourite symbols to wear because of its associations with the everlasting and interweaves nicely with the Amaranth mythology of “never fading”. These are my chosen storybook fairytales that help mitigate the humdrum of reality, where one night on the dance floor will last forever and Monday will never come.


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Bloodstocking with Baddeley

by on August 15th, 2014 in News, Uncategorized | No comment

Alchemy have become regular visitors to Bloodstock Open Air festival. While we were hard at work on the stall, our resident metal fiend Gavin Baddeley was swanning around enjoying himself. Here he explains why he reckons Bloodstock’s become an essential date in the metal calendar…

Come early August it’s time for the UK’s metal faithful to make their annual pilgrimage to Catton Hall for the Bloodstock Festival. Now in its fourteenth year, Bloodstock has evolved from a modest indoor day event with an audience of some 700, to an open air weekend that welcomes around twenty times that number of eager fans to its extensive grounds. It may not be the biggest festival in the UK, or indeed the cultiest (or kvltiest?), but Bloodstock’s now in the proud position of being widely regarded as the connoisseur’s choice amongst Brit metal fests.

It got there in part from a succession of strong bills. While Bloodstock certainly pulls crowd-pleasing headliners out of the bag, the festival’s underlying philosophy focuses on the kind of acts beloved of the grassroots, but routinely overlooked by the British press and promoters. That same by-the-fans-for-the-fans ethos colours every aspect of the event to this day, with a sense of community and attention to detail conspicuous by its absence among many of Bloodstock’s more corporate competitors.

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Bloody teardrops

by on August 8th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

He told me I had blood on my mouth. I looked at him confused yet quite amused at his observation. ‘Your lip is bleeding,’ he insisted. Grinning I licked my lips clean and tasted once again the blood that wasn’t mine. The last drop of my most recent sustenance.

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Castle Party

by on July 25th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

Alchemy have attended very many open air rock concerts over the years going back to the 80′s, including the famous Donington “Monsters of Rock” events.
These shows were and will always be very important to Alchemy, as a perfect way to keep in direct touch with the rock fans and individual customers of Alchemy, and It is always a great inspiration for new ideas and designs.
This year’s “castle Party” in Bolkow was the first time Alchemy had ventured to Poland for such a festival, (as well as the U.K, we have covered shows in Holland, Germany and Belgium in previous years).

On arrival it was instantly obvious that the atmosphere was going to be tremendous, because (and the clue is in the title), it all took place within the grounds of the 13th century Bolkow castle ruins. This event has run for 20 years now and is as popular today as ever. Importantly, It seems, however, not to be in danger of out-growing itself (as
is often the case in the UK), as because of the size of the venue, the ticket sales are restricted. The ‘Castle party
crew’ (staff) were extremely helpful and we felt very welcome. The atmosphere was indeed amazing, and the Poles certainly know how to do Goth! The enthusiasm for the event was immeasurable, and the extremes to which the visitors went to enjoy themselves and make sure it was all very special were incredible. The line-up for the stage was superb and the arena seemed always to be full when the music played.

The Goth culture there spans the generations and many whole families were to be seen, all suitably attired with dress, hair and make-up. It has to be said that the Goth-clad visitors (mostly Polish, not surprisingly), were full of respect for the ancient castle, and there was virtually no litter at all to be seen within the grounds of the
ruins in spite of the party atmosphere, and there were no signs of any trouble of any description over the three days. They were a truly a very friendly and pleasant lot! It was a pleasure to see the Alchemy stand being greeted with such enthusiasm and genuine interest and clearly Alchemy is well known to this community, as many indeed were already wearing our products. Those that saw us for the first time let it be known that they loved our ‘stuff’ and hoped to see us return again the next year.

They were indeed three and a half very long days. and the weather was glorious throughout, (and very hot). Thanks to our native Polish, bi-lingual Renata (of Alchemy Studio’s superb design team), we were able to communicate properly with the locals. Plenty of positive comments and suggestions and as mentioned before, great for inspiration.

The small town and surrounding areas are amazing places to visit in themselves, with another great castle ruin of Swiny, very close by. Wonderful scenery, countryside views and historical architecture are all in abundance and well worth a visit. Thank you Poland, the Castle Party organisers and the
festival-goers for your hospitality! Hope to see you next year!

Trev Phillipson

Alchemy founder member.

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Where did Alchemy Come From?

by on July 18th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

An ancient, Egyptian mystery? A late Mediaeval ‘science’? A secret Renaissance enigma? Yes, all of these, but in more recent history it’s cultural impact has directly affected more people than all of these combined – but this time from Alchemy England!
Alchemy, like the occult, has always been a great mystery, understood by very few and it’s dark secrets only known and practiced by a handful of dedicated adepts. Shrouded in mythology, magic, religion, spirituality and intrigue, it’s objective has always been to achieve perfection, both spiritual and physical – transmutation, from the corrupt into the pure. This included the transformation of base metals into noble metals, the esoteric purification of the soul, the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone, an elixir of life to infuse youth and longevity.

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Wave Gotik Treffen

by on July 11th, 2014 in News | No comment

Wave-Gotik-Treffen is the world’s largest meeting (or “treffen”) of darkly inclined souls. The largest recorded attendance was in 2000 with over 25,000 people and this never drops down below 15,000. I recall my first WGT (not to be confused with the World Golf Tour ;), walking through the gates of the Agra grounds and seeing more goths in one place than I had ever seen before. But not just any goths – these were some of the most beautiful and creatively attired than I had ever seen! Add to this hundreds of bands in over 40 venues spread out across the city, as well as a huge market hall, pagan village, Viking village, club nights, fetish events, picnics, theatre and classic musical shows there really isn’t much time to be bored! In fact finding time to sleep when the club nights close at 5am in the morning and the bands start again at 11am, there’s just enough time to change outfits!

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Horror Legend Dario Argento Hospitalised

by on June 30th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comment

We’re big horror fans here at Alchemy, so were concerned to hear that Dario Argento, director of such 70s cult classics as Deep Red, Suspiria and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has suffered a serious accident. In a scenario that sounds a little like something from one of his stylish chillers, Dario fell down a flight of stairs at his apartment in Rome. Happily, he’s now out of hospital, and being looked after by a private nurse at home. Everyone here at Alchemy wishes Italy’s maestro of menace a swift recovery!


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Ielele, the ladies of the dawn

by on June 16th, 2014 in News | No comment

Wake up before dawn, walk towards a nearby lake and wait there…Just wait would you? When dawn makes its presence, what would you see? A lake, you say? Just a lake? Are you sure? Well I’m afraid that’s not what people saw at that hour according to my grandma’s stories and Romanian folklore.

‘Ielele’ a strange word in the English language but it means (I will explain it to you this time…) maidens, fairies, nymphs, daughters of Aphrodite, you name it! Ielele are beautiful, cheerful girls, always barefoot and dressed in white according to the village where my grandma was raised. Ielele love to dance and to have a great time. People used to see them all the time when my grandma was a child. They’d see them levitate and dance in circles above and around lakes. They’d be dancing the traditional Romanian ‘Hora’ (holding hands and going round in circles). They’d be laughing and smiling, their silky hair seducing everything around them, the scent of their skin driving nature mad. An irresistible image you might say. Yet, people said that if you saw them, the most important thing was to not call them out! If you did, then they’d come after you and drown you in the lake… Not so irresistible after all.

Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately for you I have no stories told by my grandma about people who were actually killed by the Ielele. Then again, people drown all the time, how can we be sure that the Ielele have nothing to do with it? How would we know? Death is, after all, blind, mute and very good at keeping secrets…

If you are interested in seeing these beautiful and deadly creatures, I have a spell for you. I have no idea where I’ve read this, but I’ll never forget it. It goes something like this:

Wake up before dawn and find a lake. At dawn when it’s just you and the lake out there, make a wish and throw an apple in the lake. Then wait. The Iele will then appear, like the most gorgeous ghosts of your wildest dreams.

I am not sure what would happen next. I’ve never tried it, not because I am scared but frankly because I am way too lazy to wake up at such an inconvenient time. But feel free to try it, watch those nymphs as they dance in circles and steal your heart. But remember this: don’t, don’t call them out!

By Niguanta, of Romania. http://niguanta.blogspot.co.uk

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Books of Blood

by on June 10th, 2014 in News | No comment

While the dusty realm of the library’s seldom seen as a hive of excitement, a recent discovery at the library at Harvard University’s Houghton Library has been causing something of a stir. For experts have recently confirmed that a volume in the library’s collection is bound in human skin. Oddly enough, this isn’t the first book belonging to the prestigious US university that was thought to have been bound in this grisly fashion. In 2006, Harvard librarians revealed that they believed they had at least three such volumes in their impressive collections. The practice is known as ‘anthropodermic bibliopegy’, proving that there’s a name for pretty much everything.

The first such volume in the Harvard collection’s Practicarum Quaestionum Circa Leges Regias Hispaniae, a 17th Century Spanish legal text held by the University’s Law Library. An inscription within claimed that ‘the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632’. However, scientific tests subsequently established that the leather bindings came from sheepskin rather than anything more sinister. Happily for fans of ghoulish tales, though, the second such volume to be tested recently by Harvard scientists, held by the Houghton Library, has proven to be the real deal.

The book in question is a slim French volume entitled Des destinées de l’ame, a 19th Century collection of essays meditating on the human spirit. ‘This book is bound in human skin parchment on which no ornament has been stamped to preserve its elegance,’ reads a note from the book’s original owner who had it rebound in this gruesome style. ‘By looking carefully you easily distinguish the pores of the skin. A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering: I had kept this piece of human skin taken from the back of a woman…’

Other documentation confirms that our original owner was a medical man, who obtained his materials from ‘the back of the unclaimed body of a woman patient in a French mental hospital who died suddenly of apoplexy.’ Scientist affirmed that tests on the binding ‘clearly eliminated other common parchment sources, such as sheep, cattle and goat.’ Though, while, ‘consistent with human, other closely related primates, such as the great apes and gibbons, could not be eliminated because of the lack of necessary references.’ The philosophical, old school book-lover can only conclude that at least this is something you won’t find on your e-reader. Yet…


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Letters of the broken hearts

by on June 6th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comment

When it comes to love, we don’t need Valentine’s day to make us feel special. Love is something that should be experienced every day, every moment and every second of our lives. Love is beautiful, but it is also deadly if not answered. I came across a letter, written by a young woman to her love, in 1477. This letter was the the first known ‘Valentine’ in the English language. I decided to close my eyes and imagine the love story, how it was written, who wrote it and to whom, and were they truly in love, were they far away from each other and…were they even human?

“Dear Valentine,
I hate the way we parted. I am quite certain that this letter will not make it better, but I hope it might explain some of the things that I seem unable to say when I am around you.
We cannot be! Us, together – it is impossible. It is insane. It is imaginary! If you would know all the hatred my family carries for your kind, you would know this as well. Or perhaps you do, but reckless as you are you do not care. There is a difference between love, butterflies in your stomach, the feeling that you are the happiest person in the world and, reality, responsibility and consequences. You know that Valentine! You know I must not love you or think of you, as thoughts and eventual deeds will only cause us pain and certain death. I must ask you not to think of me, not to write to me, not to ask of me or even whisper my name! You must not Valentine. Please respect my wishes and my request.

“Dear Gabriela,
I too, hate the way we parted. But no more than this letter you have sent me. Are you jesting? Are you trying to turn my un-beating heart to ashes? I may be seen as cold and undead by your brothers, but what I feel for you…
The hatred your family carries? Must you know what my family thinks of yours? Your race? Your traditions and the full moon ceremonies? But indeed, I am reckless, I am not bothered by such scratches but I am bothered by the deep wound you have left in my soul. I should not think of you? Not ask of you? Should I stop living then? Should I plunge a stake into my heart? Is that what you ask of me? Is that what you truly desire? If you are playing with me, Gabriela, then please stop it at once! If you do not understand the way I feel about you, then for Dracula’s sake, agree to meet me as we have spoken before and let us talk about this! Give me a chance Gabriela. I beg you, do not deny me!
Yours for eternity and beyond,

By Niguanta, of Romania.


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