Using the alchemical Magnum Opus as a guideline for creative writing

Peters, Shaun Eric (2017-03)

Thesis (MDram)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The practice of creative writing is challenging the individual due to the lack of confidence in ability as well as a lack of systematic direction of how to approach the project. Like writing, alchemy concerns itself with crafting the perfect product, perfecting the practitioner‘s craft and also cultivating a confident and enlightened practitioner. Until now no creative writers have tried to implement the seven alchemical steps for the crafting of a creative writing piece to judge its effectiveness within the creative writing practice. The study explores whether the seven step alchemical Magnum Opus can serve as an effective writer‘s guideline to help cultivate a better and more confident playwright. The study will follow the practice-led Practice as Research model, wherein the practitioner will try and document the implementation of the Magnum Opus process to expand on the practice methodology of playwriting. Chapter Two examines the basic history, theories and practices of exoteric and esoteric alchemy by looking at the fundamentals of the Emerald tablet, alchemical symbols, the seven principles of Hermetacism, as well as alchemy‘s influence on the works of psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Chapter Three explores the correlation between the practice and practitioners of alchemy and writing. In Chapter Four the seven steps of the Opus are implemented, starting with psychological preparation, the identification of creative blockages, the identification of possible themes, and the exploration of these themes. Finally the play will be drafted, examined and re-written. In the final chapter it is concluded that the Magnus Opus can indicate a clear path to creation of the work and is flexible enough to make room for the playwright‘s own choice of creative writing exercises and planning, however it can be misinterpreted or underutilized, which could lead to problems in the narrative arch of the play. On a personal level the esoteric influences of alchemy help the playwright to become aware of possible mental hindrances to their writing and also as to what level of awareness and study is required to craft an effective writing ability.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die praktyk van kreatiewe skryf kan 'n groot uitdaging bied te danke aan die gebrek aan vertroue in selfvermoë, asook 'n gebrek aan sistematiese rigting oor hoe die projek benader kan word. Soos skryf, is alchemie gefokus op die skepping van n effektiewe produk, die verbetering van die praktisyn se vaardighede, asook die kweek van 'n selfversekerde en verligte praktisyn. Tot nou toe was geen studie gedoen op die implimentasie van die sewe alchemistiese stappe vir die skepping van 'n kreatiewe skryfstuk of die kweek van 'n bekwame skrywer nie. Die studie ondersoek of die sewe stap alchemiese Magnum Opus as riglyn vir die kweek van 'n effektiewe kreatiewe skrywer, sowel as die skepping van 'n teaterteks. Die studie maak gebruik van die praktykgeleide Praktyk as Navorsing-model, waarin die praktisyn die implementasie van die Magnum Opus proses dokumenteer om bydrae te lewer tot die metodologie van toneelskryf. Hoofstuk Twee sal die basiese geskiedenis, teorieë en praktyke van eksoteriese en esoteriese alchemie ondersoek deur te kyk na die beginsels van die Smaragtablet, alchemiese simbole, die sewe beginsels van Hermeticisme, asook die invloed van alchemie in die werke van psigiater Carl Gustav Jung. Hoofstuk Drie verken die verband tussen die praktyk en praktisyns van alchemie en kreatiewe skryfkuns. In Hoofstuk Vier word die sewe stappe van die Opus geïmplementeer d.m.v sielkundige kondisionering, die identifisering van kreatiewe blokkasies, die identifisering en verkenning van moontlike temas. Ten slotte word die toneelstuk opgestel, ondersoek, en herskryf. In die laaste hoofstuk is die slotsom dat die Magnus Opus 'n duidelike pad na die skepping van die toneelstuk kan aandui en dat dit buigsaam genoeg is om plek te maak vir die toneelskrywer se eie keuse van kreatiewe skryfoefeninge en beplanning. Dit kan egter verkeerd verstaan of onderbenut word, wat moontlik kan lei tot probleme in die verhaalboog van die spel. Op 'n persoonlike vlak kan esoteriese invloede van alchemie die skrywer help om bewus te word van moontlike geestelike blokkasies wat hul skryfwerk hinder, 'n metode bied van hoe hierdie hindernisse verwyder kan word, sowel as klêm plaas op watter graad van bewustheid en navorsing die toneelskrywer benodig vir die kweking van gesonde skryfvermoë.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101237
This item appears in the following collections: