HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
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Discussions On Designs On Truth Gate/door For Ed, Al, And Others (spoilers Alert ^^), Kabbalah (The Nature Of Truth, The Nature Of Father) On The Gate?
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chaton
post May 20 2009, 03:13 AM
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I did a search and found only a short mention on Kabbalah in FMA, so I hope it is okay that I start a new topic even though I'm new. I don’t know very much about Kabbalah (which is really, really complicated and confusing) but I was able to pick up a few things that relate to FMA.

What Kabbalah is:
Kabbalah is a discipline within Judaism that seeks to explain the relationship between God and the mortal world. Kabbalah is very complicated and I don’t understand it very well myself, so I’m not going to try to explain all of it but only describe the parts of it related to FMA. If you want a general understanding, Wikipedia is okay: Wikipedia-Kabbalah.

Kabbalah and Alchemy:
Kabbalah and alchemy have a number of things in common: both Kabbalah and alchemy were methods of trying to use reason to understand the world; both are considered esoteric disciplines; both were prominent in the Middle Ages but lost prominence with the rise of modern science; and both were thought of by many practitioners as a science.

Kabbalah and alchemy overlapped as well, since many Jewish alchemists also believed in Kabbalah. According to at least one book, reliance on Kabbalah became at trend in alchemy from the 16th to 18th centuries. For more on the relationship between the two, see this book: Kabbalah-Alchemy links.

Proof that Kabbalah is in FMA:
It is not a speculation that Kabbalah is part of FMA: it is observable fact. The “Tree of Life,” the central belief of Kabbalah, is the image on the Door of Truth, as can be seen below.

Image of the Tree of Life:
Attached File  Tree_of_Life.jpg ( 141.12K ) Number of downloads: 212


In the picture below, you can clearly see the word “Sephiroth”, the name of the 10 attributes on the Tree of Life. Interestingly, you can also make out “Ie” and “ho” and with a possible “va” below: Iehova (Jehovah) is the Hebrew name of God.
Attached File  Gate.jpg ( 37.51K ) Number of downloads: 257


The attachment below seems to indicate Keter/ Kether- the crown on the Tree of Life. The origin of the word “Corona” is crown and a crown is clearly visible. There is also what looks like a version of Keter (Chator) on it. Either way, it is in the same position as Keter and appears to have the same meaning.
Attached File  Gate_2.jpg ( 56K ) Number of downloads: 156


While I’ve not seen roots on the Tree of Life, the words that can be made out on the roots in the picture below clearly represent the Sephiroths: Netzeth = Netzach (victory); Geburah = Gevurah (judgement); Malc… = Malchut (kingdom).
Attached File  gate_4.jpg ( 56.58K ) Number of downloads: 139



I have not looked up the pictures of the second time Ed sees the gate- but I think this is plenty of proof that this is, in fact, the Tree of Life.

I don’t really understand the Tree of Life, but it has to do with understanding the nature of creation and the link between God and humans. While I don’t really understand the Door of Truth either, passing beyond it was indicated to give the person some kind of understanding of Truth and the ability to create without a transmutation circle, so there is a similarity in these concepts.

Here’s more information on the Sephiroth: Wikipedia- Sephiroth

“All is one and one is all”:
This idea appears to come from Kabbalah rather than alchemy. The idea of God in Kabbalah is a version of monistic panentheism. (It was listed as this in Wikipedia and I confirmed it with other sources). Monism refers to a belief in the unity of all things (Wikipedia- Monism) or “All is one”- and panentheism is the belief that all things are part of the one God (Wikipedia- Panentheism) or “One is all.” While “all is one and one is all” was explained in the context of the “circle of life” by Ed and Al in the manga, they ended by saying it means “All is the world and the one is me,” which combined with the previous statement means “I am the world and the world is me,” consistent with monistic panentheism.

More importantly, Truth introduces himself like this: “I am what you humans refer to as "the world", also known as “the universe”, or “God”, or “true knowledge,” or “all”, or “one,” and… I’m you.” This is pretty much the definition of God in monistic panentheism, and is consistent with Kabbalah. God is all things and individuals are merely manifestations of God. Reinforcing the influence of Kabbalah on Truth’s statements, we view the Door of Truth as he says this.
Attached File  gate_3.jpg ( 50.41K ) Number of downloads: 113


The Nature of Truth
:
It is hard to get a handle on what the soul is in Kabbalah, because not only is the soul a manifestation of God, but the body is also. I suspect that the manifestation of Truth that speaks to Ed is his own soul. I don’t think this is counter to Kabbalah- but the only way Kabbalah supports this is that the soul is a part of God.

This has some support within FMA, however. After the attempted transmutation of their mother, Ed and Al both see Truth, but do not see each other. It is likely that each sees the manifestation of Truth that is his own soul. After Ed pulls Al’s soul out, the realms of their souls merge, which is why Ed sees two doors when he returns. It is notable that Al’s body is seated in front of his Door of Truth in the same position that Ed saw Truth previously. It seems Al simply got reversed, with his body and soul on the wrong sides of the door. His body seems to still get enough nourishment to survive through his connection with Ed due to it being located in Ed’s soul’s realm, and his mind remains connected to the soul, allowing him to retain his memories and personality. The idea of Truth being Ed's soul is also supported by Truth being the same size as Ed and Ed forgetting what he was doing when faced with Truth, as the mind separating from the soul may have caused some confusion.

If this is correct, the soul is likely the closest part of a human to God and it has knowledge that is unavailable to the mind and body. In this case, all souls may have some shared consciousness and knowledge.

All this is consistent with Kabbalah, but this admittedly involves more speculation on my part than the clear link between Kabbalah and the two previous ideas.

The Nature of Father:
The nature of Father himself may, in fact, be in like with Kabbalah. Father is a very mysterious being- he came into existence as a shadow in a jar but already had incredible knowledge. His nature and his goals are not yet known in the manga, but they seem like they could be in line with Sitra Achra (“The other side”) in Kabbalah.

Evil exists in Kabbalah as the absence of God’s will. Because God is everything and God is good, evil can only exist where God is absent. God is absent because he withdraws his will from reality in order to allow free will and human autonomy. This allows “evil” or Sitra Achra into the world. However, Sitra Achra does not have a true existence- it is variously described as something like a shadow from God’s light or a parasite on the physical universe. It underlies reality but has no life or existence of its own- it can only derive life as a parasite and it will be eradicated at the end of time when God extends his will. ( Sitra Achra- I’ve read a number of links with different information, but this one is short and easy to understand. It is just one interpretation, though, and others get really complex. Also, see the Wikipedia Kabbalah page above for more).

Father may actually be a manifestation of Sitra Achra. He is an entity that had knowledge beyond what he could have attained when created in the flask, indicating another existence. His manifestation in the physical world required a creation by Hohenheim’s master using Hohenheim’s blood- this can be seen as an example of his parasitic nature, as he was unable to attain physical form without both a human creating him and human blood. His original form is a shadow, which is also consistent with Sitra Achra, which is a kind of shadow from God’s will. His confinement to the flask may be due his existence requiring the absence of God- he may only be able to maintain his physical form in a small realm where he can keep out God (Truth), since the rest of the physical world belongs to Truth.

His parasitic existence is further indicated by his need for human beings to create a body for him through evil acts (he cannot do this himself), as well as his body being made up of human souls. It is of interest that Father has grown older and decayed over time, but Hohenheim hasn’t. This may again be due to Father being a parasite: he needs to draw energy from these souls simply to maintain his existence in the world and has grown older as he wore them out. Hohenheim, on the other hand, would have an intrinsic existence. Even in the present, Father is still a parasite who requires humans to perform evil deeds to complete his plans and needs humans for the transmutation he wants performed- he simply cannot do these things himself. It is also worth noting that Hohenheim refers to him as still being trapped- Father may be more powerful now, but he must still stay where he can keep God out. It is possible that the absence of God is the weird thing that the Xingese characters felt within Amestris.

(Note: I may be wrong on some elements of the manga in the discussion of Father since I did not double check that all of it is correct with the manga. Please let me know if I screwed anything up).

Ishbala:
This is just a quick note about the link between Ishbala, the Ishbalan god, and Kabbalah. The name Ishbala could come from Jewish Kabbalah (the version of Kabbalah that I'm referring to here). If this is the case, it is likely that the Ishbalans have a better understanding of the world than the Amestrians because the world’s true nature appears to be governed by Kabbalah, not alchemy.



That’s all I can write on this, but Kabbalah is much deeper and more complex than this- honestly I don’t understand it at all. Hopefully I did not screw too much up. There are also many types of thinking within Kabbalah, since it was derived by many different rabbis over many centuries- it is hard to know which perception of Kabbalah Arakawa has based this on. But this explains some of the main principles of Kabbalah as they could relate to FMA, as best as I am able to interpret them. Maybe someone else can do better with a little research.

There are many, many things in the manga that I have not discussed here and could potentially be related to Kabbalah: I'm hoping this thread can be used for discussion of these things, as well as discussions of reasons for and against some of the possible interpretations listed above. (Possible things of interest: Ishbalan teachings, the second time at the gate, Scar's brother's research, etc.)

(Edited 5/21/09 to put links within text instead of at the end and make some minor changes).
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mazam
post May 20 2009, 10:45 PM
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Thanks for all this. I always knew a bit about kabbalah and a bit on relating it to FMA, but this is in far greater detail. The bit with Father's form and shadow is very interesting. I'm going to digest this for a bit. smile.gif
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chaton
post May 21 2009, 12:57 AM
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QUOTE (mazam @ May 20 2009, 10:45 PM) *
Thanks for all this. I always knew a bit about kabbalah and a bit on relating it to FMA, but this is in far greater detail. The bit with Father's form and shadow is very interesting. I'm going to digest this for a bit. smile.gif


It's great to find someone who knows a bit about Kabbalah. Does my interpretation make sense with what you know about Kabbalah? I only even learned Kabbalah existed from looking up words on the Door of Truth- so, it might be good to hear from someone who had knowledge of Kabbalah outside of what they found out from this (unless you came across it the same way).

======================================================

Something I did not mention in my first post: "Eheih Pater," which is clearly visible at the top of the door means "I am Father".

"Eheih" is a variation of "Eheyeh," which is a way of saying "I am" in Hebrew.

"Pater," on the other hand, is the Latin word for "Father," and is used as a prefix in words like "paternal" or "patriarch."

"Corona," appearing in the same circle and discussed in my first post, is also Latin.

So Arakawa is mixing at least 2 languages for this: she is sometimes also using less common variations on spelling or altering words slightly so they are different but still recognizable. As far as I can tell, all the words (and symbols) in this manga actually mean something, though I haven't looked up that many.
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Sensenic
post May 21 2009, 01:05 AM
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QUOTE (chaton @ May 20 2009, 12:13 PM) *
Proof that Kabbalah is in FMA:
It is not a speculation that Kabbalah is part of FMA: it is observable fact. The “Tree of Life,” the central belief of Kabbalah, is the image on the Door of Truth, as can be seen below.

Image of the Tree of Life:
Attached File  Tree_of_Life.jpg ( 141.12K ) Number of downloads: 212


Must point, though, that that's only on Ed's door. Al's door has a different design (don't remember if there's a better pic elsewhere). From that we can conclude that the engraving on the doors of truth must br subjective for everyone... or sth.

I think someone around here posted what Al's one was (maybe Kaballah related too?), but I don't remember what, who, where or when. sleep.gif


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Kasumisty
post May 21 2009, 01:44 AM
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QUOTE (Sensenic @ May 21 2009, 10:05 AM) *
QUOTE (chaton @ May 20 2009, 12:13 PM) *
Proof that Kabbalah is in FMA:
It is not a speculation that Kabbalah is part of FMA: it is observable fact. The “Tree of Life,” the central belief of Kabbalah, is the image on the Door of Truth, as can be seen below.

Image of the Tree of Life:
Attached File  Tree_of_Life.jpg ( 141.12K ) Number of downloads: 212


Must point, though, that that's only on Ed's door. Al's door has a different design (don't remember if there's a better pic elsewhere). From that we can conclude that the engraving on the doors of truth must br subjective for everyone... or sth.

I think someone around here posted what Al's one was (maybe Kaballah related too?), but I don't remember what, who, where or when. sleep.gif


Yeah, it's completely different, haven't noticed that!:

http://www.onemanga.com/Full_Metal_Alchemist/53/32/
http://www.onemanga.com/Full_Metal_Alchemist/53/33-34/

Thank you, chaton for detailed analysis! To be honest, I don't understand all of it, but it makes sense!

Edit: Oh, isn't that Yggdrasil Tree? I have no idea if that's the same as "Tree of Life"


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Ropespinner
post May 21 2009, 03:05 AM
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I don't understand much about Kabbalah, but I found some links and images I thought I might share. Might be partially offtopic, but it was already being discussed in this thread, so...

First, on Ed's Doors there's Robert Fludd's Sephirothic Tree, which indeed has a lot to do with Kabbalah (but that's clear if you've read the fisrt mesage in this thread, of course). Anyway, I found some information about it here.

The picture on Al's doors is more difficult to find information about. It's obviously based on an illustration that can be found here (look at the one numbered "A046"). That's the only place I've found a picture of it, and it's quite small. (Maybe if someone ordered the print...). Also, the only information about the illustration is that it's an
QUOTE
Illustration from a manuscript in the British Library, MS. Sloane 3667, a 17th century copy of George Ripley Marrow of Alchemy.

That does not exactly tell much about what it means.

EDIT: Here's the image, I added it so that everyone doesn't have to follow the link to see it:



The clearest image if Al's doors in the manga can be found from chapter 73. Because it's not very clear in any scans, I scanned a panel from my own copy of Volume 18 and photoshopped the brightness/contrast a bit.


Hmm. Unlike the original illustration, this one has a sun.

Also, I've tried to draw a clearer picture of it, since all the pics I've found are either small or unclear. My drawing's missing most of the text, because I could not figure out what it said, but I wrote what I could figure out. (Don't rely too much on that, I'm fairly sure I made mistakes.)



[EDIT.] Also, there was some discussion about the design of Al's Doors (and a mention of the Sephirothic Tree on Ed's Doors as well) on Livejournal. The discussion is a couple of years' old, but apparently I had the page bookmarked and found it. Here.


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chaton
post May 22 2009, 05:49 AM
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QUOTE (Ropespinner @ May 21 2009, 03:05 AM) *
I don't understand much about Kabbalah, but I found some links and images I thought I might share. Might be partially offtopic, but it was already being discussed in this thread, so...

First, on Ed's Doors there's Robert Fludd's Sephirothic Tree, which indeed has a lot to do with Kabbalah (but that's clear if you've read the fisrt mesage in this thread, of course). Anyway, I found some information about it here.

The picture on Al's doors is more difficult to find information about. It's obviously based on an illustration that can be found here (look at the one numbered "A046"). That's the only place I've found a picture of it, and it's quite small. (Maybe if someone ordered the print...). Also, the only information about the illustration is that it's an
QUOTE
Illustration from a manuscript in the British Library, MS. Sloane 3667, a 17th century copy of George Ripley Marrow of Alchemy.

That does not exactly tell much about what it means.

The clearest image if Al's doors in the manga can be found from chapter 73. Because it's not very clear in any scans, I scanned a panel from my own copy of Volume 18 and photoshopped the brightness/contrast a bit.


Hmm. Unlike the original illustration, this one has a sun.

Also, I've tried to draw a clearer picture of it, since all the pics I've found are either small or unclear. My drawing's missing most of the text, because I could not figure out what it said, but I wrote what I could figure out. (Don't rely too much on that, I'm fairly sure I made mistakes.)



[EDIT.] Also, there was some discussion about the design of Al's Doors (and a mention of the Sephirothic Tree on Ed's Doors as well) on Livejournal. The discussion is a couple of years' old, but apparently I had the page bookmarked and found it. Here.


This is all really great information. I'm definitely going to have to look that up. Just when I was starting to think I was getting it figured out.

It's also good to know that Ed's tree comes from Robert Fludd- but it seems to refer to Christian Kabbalah rather than Jewish Kabbalah, as I previously thought.- (and Al's may be a Hermetic symbol, so it may have to do with (Hermetic Qabbalah). I need to do a lot more research, but if others did not find much of anything, it may not be possible. Thanks for all the great information.

By the way, good job on the picture, too. Interesting that both have the crown on top. I wonder if the sun is just a representation of the soul- wasn't it said previously that the sun represents the soul in FMA?

By the way, I cannot make out the words too well, on yours either. I can make out "corpus" (body in latin) and "spiritus" (breath, breathing, life, spirit in latin) and "anima" ("life, soul" in latin) on top. Do you know the other words, and/or their meanings?
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Kirara
post May 22 2009, 07:19 AM
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QUOTE (chaton @ May 22 2009, 05:49 AM) *
It's also good to know that Ed's tree comes from Robert Fludd- but it seems to refer to Christian Kabbalah rather than Jewish Kabbalah, as I previously thought.- (and Al's may be a Hermetic symbol, so it may have to do with (Hermetic Qabbalah). I need to do a lot more research, but if others did not find much of anything, it may not be possible. Thanks for all the great information.



Well Christian Kabbalah was taken from Jewish Kabblah and Mysticism so I am not really sure if there is any actual differences between the two. But either way I am sure Arakawa takes her ideas from many places not just one.

Anyways this discussion is very interesting so thanks for bringing it up with all these interesting details. I wish I had more thoughts to add on what it all means but unfortunately I really have no idea. I like to think that Arakawa is just taken the basic ideas from these things and forming her own mythology.

I do agree with the notion that Ed & Al have different doors because they each have their own version of truth. That one person's truth will be different from someone else's truth.

On another note although not as poopular as it was in the Middle ages the Kabbalah is still studied by some today. There is also this which is open up to basically anyone who is interested. It is also studied quite a bit in the city of Safed


edit: Can you remind me what chapter this conversation occurred?

When Ed asked Envy if Father was trying to become God, Envy said something along the lines of “That’s close.”
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Ropespinner
post May 22 2009, 07:45 AM
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QUOTE (chaton @ May 22 2009, 03:49 PM) *
It's also good to know that Ed's tree comes from Robert Fludd- but it seems to refer to Christian Kabbalah rather than Jewish Kabbalah, as I previously thought.- (and Al's may be a Hermetic symbol, so it may have to do with (Hermetic Qabbalah). I need to do a lot more research, but if others did not find much of anything, it may not be possible. Thanks for all the great information.

I've tried to find out more information about the image on Al's doors, but I wasn't really able to find much anything. It's way easier to find information about Fludd's Tree.

QUOTE (chaton @ May 22 2009, 03:49 PM) *
By the way, good job on the picture, too. Interesting that both have the crown on top. I wonder if the sun is just a representation of the soul- wasn't it said previously that the sun represents the soul in FMA?

It could be that. It was said that sun symbolizes the soul.

QUOTE (chaton @ May 22 2009, 03:49 PM) *
By the way, I cannot make out the words too well, on yours either. I can make out "corpus" (body in latin) and "spiritus" (breath, breathing, life, spirit in latin) and "anima" ("life, soul" in latin) on top. Do you know the other words, and/or their meanings?

...Those were pretty much the only things I could surely make out myself. Also, I'm fairly sure but not certain that on the left side of the triangle, it says "In Unitate" and on the right side "Ternarius". Also, in the fruit-thingy on the right side, I'm fairly sure it says "Leo Rubeus" ("Red Lion", maybe?).


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chaton
post May 24 2009, 04:49 AM
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QUOTE (Kirara @ May 22 2009, 07:19 AM) *
I do agree with the notion that Ed & Al have different doors because they each have their own version of truth. That one person's truth will be different from someone else's truth.


I'm curious about this. I don't know specifically about alchemy or Kabbalah, but, from what I am familiar with, Western philosophy and religion generally has not allowed for multiple truths- it's always a search for or belief in one absolute truth. But the idea of multiple truths makes the most sense explaining the different doors.

Eastern philosophy, I think, is much friendlier to the idea of multiple truths. As you said previously, Arakawa is drawing from multiple sources of mythology and philosophy. Could this be an example of eastern philosophy coming in to play? Are there other examples? Or is this an aspect of alchemy, Kabbalah, or another Western tradition that I am not familiar with? Or maybe this is not intended to draw on any tradition? Hmm... I'll have to think about this.

QUOTE (Kirara @ May 22 2009, 07:19 AM) *
edit: Can you remind me what chapter this conversation occurred?

When Ed asked Envy if Father was trying to become God, Envy said something along the lines of “That’s close.”


Oops. I made a mistake here. I hadn't re-read the manga in a couple years, and the last part about Father I thought of and wrote up only at the last minute. I really did not check the manga on much of it, but since the part about Father was almost completely speculation, I did not think it was a big deal.

Here's the mistake I made: I mixed up the conversation between Envy and Marcoh in Ch. 49 with the conversation between Ed and Envy in Ch. 53. In Ch. 49, Marcoh asks Envy if they are trying to turn the country into a giant philosopher stone and Envy answers "That's close" (or depending on the translation, "You're on the right track.") In Ch. 53, Ed theorizes to Envy that Father is trying to surpass God and Envy neither refutes nor confirms what he says. Since I had previously thought both of these were true, I was curious about the "That's close," but apparently not curious enough to remember in which case it was said. I still don't know why Marcoh's statement was only "close."

I'm editing the first post to remove that statement and add a disclaimer that I did not double check the manga on the part I wrote about Father.

QUOTE (Ropespinner @ May 22 2009, 07:45 AM) *
I've tried to find out more information about the image on Al's doors, but I wasn't really able to find much anything. It's way easier to find information about Fludd's Tree.


I looked too, but I have not found any information. I wonder if that picture is mislabeled. Searching images for "George Ripley" or "Marrow of Alchemy" turns up that picture, but nothing else similar. Either the site mislabeled it or they took the image directly from its source in the British Library. It may actually be both, since MS. Sloane 3667 (the call numbers), appears to refer to a collection of manuscripts from the 17th century, not only to the "Marrow of Alchemy." This site may have attributed this to the wrong manuscript within that collection. I refuse to believe this picture is so rare that it is only found in one manuscript in the British Library and in one low-quality scan on the Internet. Arakawa must have come across it somehow, so it is probably common enough to be reprinted in Japanese.

If this picture is, in fact, from "The Marrow of Alchemy," I'm wondering if this picture is unique to this version of the book- the site says the book version it is from is from the 17th century, but George Ripley lived in the 15th century. This may be an interpretation of his work rather than something he created himself. Either way, by reading the "Marrow of Alchemy," it should be possible to make some sense of the picture (if that is truly the source), but I'm not ready to do that yet.

If this is wrongly attributed the the "Marrow of Alchemy," then my working hypothesis is that it is from another manuscript in the collection. I'd like to figure out what part it is in. Here's a link for anyone who wants to see the other possible sources. (See 3667) I'm going to go through them later and see what I can find out. Either way, I'm curious now and am not ready to admit defeat.

While I don't think this discussion is off-topic (since figuring this out would help us determine how important the role of Kabbalah in FMA is), I'm considering changing the thread name to reflect this part of the discussion as well.

QUOTE (Ropespinner @ May 22 2009, 07:45 AM) *
...Those were pretty much the only things I could surely make out myself. Also, I'm fairly sure but not certain that on the left side of the triangle, it says "In Unitate" and on the right side "Ternarius". Also, in the fruit-thingy on the right side, I'm fairly sure it says "Leo Rubeus" ("Red Lion", maybe?).


Thanks. Your eyesight must be a lot better than mine, since I could only make out a blur no matter what I did. This should be of help either searching or determining how the image relates to the text of the "Marrow of Alchemy."

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lunneth
post May 31 2009, 01:54 AM
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you my friend seem to be extremely knowladgeable. this is really interesting and i think from what i've seen here that its a very good observation. maybe there is a link between alchemy references that arakawa used.


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ninryu
post May 31 2009, 08:09 AM
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first thing yehovah is god's real name and the god in hebrow it's elohim, second thing nezzahh is forever, gvurah is bravery and malchut is kingship and i know what i'm talking about couse i'm jewish and know hebrow better than english.


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Forsaken Love
post Jun 19 2009, 09:06 AM
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Some very good work here! Thankyou, some bits and pieces I allready knew, I asked my very knowedgable mother for translations for what the stuff on the doors said, but theres so much more I didn't know, its all very interesting and all the links you've made are very clever.


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vionasoancY
post Jan 25 2010, 06:19 AM
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Ive noticed that the symbols on the Gate looks a lot like jewish "tree of life" with its 10 names for God and 10 sephiroths the names are actually written on the gate. Has anyone noticed that and why do you think it is only on Eds Gate but not on Als?

<@vionasoancY - Welcome to our board! I moved your post here from FMA-2 News thread. Please feel free to re-edit your post to fit this thread, and also please feel free to delete this note after you read it. ^^ ~ Tombow>
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Ropespinner
post Jan 25 2010, 03:56 PM
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In case someone is still interested in the design of Alphonse's Doors, I started searching again, trying to google other works from MS. Sloane 3667, as chaton had suggested, and I eventually came across a work called Catholicon Physicorum, by Samuel Norton. You can see it here. Now, if you look at the fifth page, it looks kind of familiar...

The visual design is a bit different, but the writing looks quite identical (with the biggest difference being that this is clear enough to read). You can see some other related pictures here. Some googling around indicates that the images are illustrations for this series of texts by Norton:
i. Mercurius Redivivus.
ii. Catholicon Physicorum.
iii. Venus virtiolata.
iv. Elixir, seu Medicina Vitæ.
v. Saturnus saturatus dissolutus & coelo restitutus.
vi. Metamorphosis lapidum ignobilium in Gemmas pretiosas.
vii. Alchymiæ Complementum et perfectio.
viii. Auslegung der duncklen Wörter, Namen und seltzamen Reden, so in dieser Kunst geführet werden.

(Catholicon Physicorum is the one in which the illustration that looks a lot like the image on Al's Doors is featured.)


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