Past, Present and future met in a seedy alley . . .

It was tense


Beyond The Pyre by Steve Costello

published by Austin Macauley

Friday 30th June 2017


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Paperback           978 178 693 40 17

Hardback             978 178 693 40 24

E-Book                  978 178 693 40 31



We are Timeless Creative Beings

How many times have you heard somebody say, ‘Oh s/he lives in the past,’ or have you said, ‘let’s hope the future will turn out brighter.’ ?

Common phrases, easily thrown around but, what use are they?

In my novel, Beyond The Pyre, twenty-first century characters meet their thirteenth century selves but every single outcome is based on what they did in each and every moment regardless of when their spirits filled those mortal bodies.

524 Years on . . .

Theophrastus Phillippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus, was born in Einsiedeln, Switzerland in late 1493 and died in Salzburg on 24th September, 1541. He was a medical doctor, alchemist and philosopher who provoked controversy during his lifetime and even today 524 years on.

So why did he change name? As far as I could discover, he wanted to rival ancient authorities such as Celsus; a 2nd-century Greek philosopher and opponent of Early Christianity. Celsus is remembered for his literary work, The True Word, which survived through work of Origen. The True Word is the earliest known comprehensive attack on Christianity.

The question Paracelsus’s reputation invites is whether he was a man of the Middle Ages or ahead of his time. If you examine his writings in the context of the Renaissance period, you will find a man who was well ahead of the thinking of his day. But he thought, wrote and talked in the moment. It doesn’t matter where anybody else thought he was.

Paracelsus believed that a human being has two bodies; a visible body that belongs to the earth, and an invisible body of heaven. The invisible one is closely attuned to imagination and the spiritual aspect of the individual. Paracelsus understood well the psychosomatic abilities of people, as he stressed the importance of suggestion, using signs and amulets to help a patient form mental images, which translated into profound physical cures.

Alfred Edward Waite mentions in his book, Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus (1894), “History tells us that Paracelsus was a difficult man, prone to outbursts of abusive language aimed at the established medical and spiritual authorities of his time. He abhorred untested theory; during his brief and ill-fated position as Professor at Basel, he invited to his lectures barber-surgeons, alchemists, apothecaries, and others lacking academic background as an expression of his belief that only those who actively practiced an art, knew it. ‘The patients are your textbook; the sickbed is your study.’ He ridiculed those who placed more importance on titles than practice, and solemnly declared that ‘if disease put us to the test, all our splendour, title, ring, and name will be as much help as a horse’s tail.’

He was the first ever to lecture in the language of the street rather than in the official academician’s Latin, and the first to publicly condemn the medical authority of Avicenna and Galen, flinging their writings into a bonfire on St. John’s Day in 1527.

His medical works dealt with syphilis and its therapy, illnesses like miners’ disease, surgery, and the treatment of wounds. He wrote about medicinal springs in Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany. His theoretical ideas about the effects of bathing very advanced. He always relied on experience, experiments, observations of nature, and reason. “The way to investigate nature is to travel her books with your feet.”

Also, Waite points out, “The conviction of his own experience and practice eventually paid off; he invented chemical urinalysis, chemical therapy, and suggested a biochemical theory of digestion. He demanded that the application of cow dung, feathers and other obnoxious concoctions to wounds be given up in favour of keeping the wounds clean, stating, ‘If you prevent infection, Nature will heal the wound all by herself.’ Thus he anticipated modern techniques of antisepsis by several centuries.”

“In a treatise on syphilis containing the most comprehensive clinical description the period ever produced, we find that he was the first to perceive that the disease could only be contracted by contact. He was the discoverer of the mercury treatment for the disease, as well. The Germ theory was anticipated by him in his proposal that diseases were entities in themselves, rather than states of being. He gave birth to clinical diagnosis and the administration of highly specific medicines, rather than the traditional cure-all remedies of the time. He called for the humane treatment of the mentally ill (but was ignored for several centuries), seeing in them not creatures possessed by evil spirits, but ‘brothers’ ensnared in a treatable malady.”

“He introduced the black hellebore to European pharmacology, prescribing the correct dosage necessary to alleviate certain forms of arteriosclerosis, and recommended the use of iron for ‘poor blood,’ emphasizing the importance of employing only the product of metals and not plants. We can also credt Paracelsus with the creation of the terms, ‘chemistry,’ ‘gas,’ and ‘alcohol’ as well as the discovery of zinc as the active ingredient in the production of brass.”

Manly P. Hall, in his book The Mystical and Medical Philosophy of Paracelsus, writes, “It will be obvious why Paracelsus has become the central figure in a heated controversy involving both the theory and practice of the healing arts. Historians applauding his progress and originality, at the same time bewail his mystical speculations and his excursions into the fields of animal magnetism and electromagnetic therapy. He has come to be regarded as a most complex man, combining a high degree of skilled observation with a variety of superstitious beliefs… it is obvious that Paracelsus was aware of the impending struggle between medicine and magic. To him, the advancement of practical therapy depended upon a continuous exploration of the invisible side of nature — a search for causes — and the realization that man was not simply a physical creature, but a living soul whose internal attitudes could profoundly affect his health.”

The findings of Paracelsus included his discovery of hydrogen and nitrogen. As Manly Hall mentions, “He established a correlation between cretinism and endemic goiter… The German philosopher Lessings states, ‘Those who imagine that the medicine of Paracelsus is a system of superstitions which we have fortunately outgrown, will, if they once learn to know its principles, be surprised to find that it is based on a superior kind of knowledge which we have not yet attained, but into which we may hope to grow.'”

Paracelsus states, “A man who is angry is not only angry in his head or in his fist, but all over… all the organs of the body, and the body itself, are only form-manifestations of previously and universally existing mental states.”

“I am a rough man born in a rough country; I have been brought up in the pine-woods, and I may have inherited some knots. That which seems to me polite and amiable may appear unpolished to another, and what seems silk in my eyes may be but homespun to you.”

Thanks to the World Research Foundation


Love is a State of Being . . .


When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.

You connect with it at a very deep level.

You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive in and through stillness.

Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.

 Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks


 What do you think? The most inspiring thought will receive a free copy of Beyond The Pyre

Coming Soon . . .

  • Beyond The Pyre, character pen portraits
  • History of The Cathar crusades with the bits that were left out put back in
  • Forthcoming novels by Steve Costello
  • Guest Posts
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