Masters Mortimer and

 Benjamin Blackburn's

School   

for the

Alchemical

    Arts

quill and ink class

The founding of Masters Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts is a curious thing to consider. The Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts had a long and useful history in the world of witches and wizards in the West.  But eventually the time came that it needed to be improved upon.

But why change the name? Because the scope changed, or widened much much further than its original goal. Mainly it was the shift from focusing exclusively on magic arts to alchemy. 

 

This is an important distinction. Magic is a subset of alchemy, while alchemy incorporates a deeper set of skills and understand that applies in realms far beyond that of magic.

It was important to the Blackburns that their educational approach incorporate a wider interpretation of what they term to be "magic."

​​

While tradition magical schools isolate themselves exclusively to the teaching of witches and wizards as they define them, the Blackburns shifted their focus from this to allowing all peoples to be taught. And yet focus on teaching in this way doesn't deter a witch from developing one's magical abilities; it is from studying the principles of alchemy that witches and wizards to be true masters of their craft.

Even in his early days at his alma mater, Mortimer Blackburn had felt there was something weird about the idea of limiting education to witches and wizards. For one, house elves were obviously far superior in their inherent abilities, and yet they got put in a box so-to-speak by the self-assured wizards of the magical community.

Beyond this, he'd always felt like the definition of what they even considered magical to be terribly limited. Granted, the magic of the wand waving sort was sensational, but honestly it kind of grew tiresome once you got past the sparks and shimmery lights. He saw a numbness and complacency in his fellows that he couldn't shake. This is partly why he ended up leaving early; he wanted more, and though he wouldn't have describe it like this then, he grew anxious for a deeper connection to life.

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As he explored and gained experience, he became convinced more and more that he was on to something. 

He found that those who had a heavy reliance on "magic"(as they considered it) were at a gross disadvantage to those who didn't. At least they were just less likely to actually think to solve problems. Knowing they could just wave a wand, they grew lazy and were prone to bullyish behavior. And with all the regulation and laws surrounding wizarding behavior, it was far more sensible to at least mix magic with other unregulated means aka. using your brain to solve problems. (So many times it was those who would never be thought of as magical amongst wizard kind that had saved his backside)

This different kind of magic was inward: a gift of creativity and resourcefulness and ability to adapt to any situation. Rather than just waving a wand at a problem, he'd learned to think and imagine solutions to situations on the fly in a way that no wizarding instructor in a cold castle could ever teach him. 

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This ability was hard won though, and he wondered if he and Ben might be able to incorporate some formality into the process of learning in order to help students of all peoples and backgrounds to gain the insights and skills they sought. 

But more than just advocating street smarts, Mortimer had learned a deeper formal knowledge and system of teaching along the way that not only incorporated magic, but illustrated on the deepest level how to negotiate and harness the power within and without that is available to all who subject themselves to its truth.

That formal system was alchemy in ancient days. Alchemy wasn't exactly a formalized science when the brothers came upon it in is disparate forms. It was actually pretty broken. And not everything they were taught was actually relevant. But the idea of alchemy seemed to be everywhere. Glimpses of it seemed to be woven into a variety of places and stories, always on the borders, but never at the center of the story. Occasionally it would play into the story more directly, but at first it was subtle. 

In retrospect, they didn't see it for what it was because it first had to be discovered inside them; rule number one of alchemy is that it is only truly understood as it is experienced or practiced. But along the way, they got just enough to teach them what they needed to know, but never enough to know it all at once. It wasn't until they had sufficient experience and showed adequate strength of character that they could finally piece it all together.

And so Master Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts was born, or rather, reborn.

Why A New School?

The founding of Masters Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts is a curious thing to consider. The Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts had a long and useful history in the world of witches and wizards in the West.  But eventually the time came that it needed to be improved upon.

But why change the name? Because the scope changed, or widened much much further than its original goal. Mainly it was the shift from focusing exclusively on magic arts to alchemy.

 

This is an important distinction. Magic is a subset of alchemy, while alchemy incorporates a deeper set of skills and understand that applies in realms far beyond that of magic.

It was important to the Blackburns that their educational approach incorporate a wider interpretation of what they term to be "magic."

While tradition magical schools isolate themselves exclusively to the teaching of witches and wizards as they define them, the Blackburns shifted their focus from this to allowing all peoples to be taught. And yet focus on teaching in this way doesn't deter a witch from developing one's magical abilities; it is from studying the principles of alchemy that witches and wizards to be true masters of their craft.

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*  *  *

Even in his early days at his alma mater, Mortimer Blackburn had felt there was something weird about the idea of limiting education to witches and wizards. For one, house elves were obviously far superior in their inherent abilities, and yet they got put in a box so-to-speak by the self-assured wizards of the magical community.

Beyond this, he'd always felt like the definition of what they even considered magical to be terribly limited. Granted, the magic of the wand waving sort was sensational, but honestly it kind of grew tiresome once you got past the sparks and shimmery lights. He saw a numbness and complacency in his fellows that he couldn't shake. This is partly why he ended up leaving early; he wanted more, and though he wouldn't have describe it like this then, he grew anxious for a deeper connection to life.

As he explored and gained experience, he became convinced more and more that he was on to something.

He found that those who had a heavy reliance on "magic"(as they considered it) were at a gross disadvantage to those who didn't. At least they were just less likely to actually think to solve problems. Knowing they could just wave a wand, they grew lazy and were prone to bullyish behavior. And with all the regulation and laws surrounding wizarding behavior, it was far more sensible to at least mix magic with other unregulated means aka. using your brain to solve problems. (So many times it was those who would never be thought of as magical amongst wizard kind that had saved his backside)

This different kind of magic was inward: a gift of creativity and resourcefulness and ability to adapt to any situation. Rather than just waving a wand at a problem, he'd learned to think and imagine solutions to situations on the fly in a way that no wizarding instructor in a cold castle could ever teach him.

 

This ability was hard won though, and he wondered if he and Ben might be able to incorporate some formality into the process of learning in order to help students of all peoples and backgrounds to gain the insights and skills they sought.

But more than just advocating street smarts, Mortimer had learned a deeper formal knowledge and system of teaching along the way that not only incorporated magic, but illustrated on the deepest level how to negotiate and harness the power within and without that is available to all who subject themselves to this truth.

That formal system was alchemy in ancient days. Alchemy wasn't exactly a formal science when the brothers came upon it in is disparate forms. It was actually pretty broken. And not everything they were taught was actually relevant. But the idea of alchemy seemed to be everywhere. Glimpses of it seemed to be woven into a variety of places and stories, always on the borders, but never at the center of the story. Occasionally it would play into the story more directly, but at first it was subtle. 

In retrospect, they didn't see it for what it was because it first had to be discovered inside them; rule number one of alchemy is that it is only truly understood as it is experienced or practiced. But along the way, they got just enough to teach them what they needed to know, but never enough to know it all at once. It wasn't until they had sufficient experience and showed adequate strength of character that they could finally piece it all together.

And so Master Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts was born, or rather, reborn.

Inheriting the Alchemical Tradition

The first exposure Mortimer had to practical alchemy was on a trip to Africa. His father had taken him on one of his merchant voyages after Mortimer had withdrawn from school in his fourth year. They had be sailing the waters off the coast of West Africa when they were captured by Barbary pirates. This had led to their imprisonment, and though Mortimer was, in fact a wizard, it did them little good; his father wasn't, though he knew of the laws of wizard kind, and had encouraged his son to lock his wand in the captain's quarters where he wouldn't be tempted to use it and court trouble from the magical authorities. It was bad enough that he'd not encouraged his son to keep to his studies, but to be caught using magic before his time was not something he'd wanted to be responsible for. Besides, it was more his son's style to find other means to solve problems rather than waving them away. His wife would have been proud. But in this situation, it had gone from bad to worse, and they were both beginning to wonder if leaving the wand on the ship was a mistake.

Mortimer had even been sold into a caravan, and while trekking across the Sahara, he'd been saved by a shadowy dark figure who hunted with a hawk. This was an alchemist as he would later learn. While in his charge, Mortimer would come to learn many things. The Alchemist wasn't exactly a wizard, but he was definitely magical. But a more subtle and developed type. To say it intrigued Mortimer is an understatement, and it set a precedent that stayed with him for years. This was his first foray into the world of alchemy, or applied alchemy. Mortimer had actually learned a bit about it in school when he'd come across the subject in a book he read. Sadly alchemy isn't taught to underaged wizards, so all he knew about it came from literary sources until the unintentional stop in Africa.

And it was through the power of this alchemist that Mortimer and most of his sailing companions would escape.

Through the years, as Mortimer came into his own as an adult, he would occasionally return to see the alchemist. He was one of the few figures he sought wisdom and guidance from. What knowledge he gained from the alchemist was of great import, though it require time in order to truly solidify within him. Basically he had to get more life experience in order to truly make sense of all he taught him.

The second major manifestation of alchemy in the experiences of Mortimer came through the discovery and subsequent interactions with the Good People of his home country. He'd already begun his mercantile business, and he had been out searching for more products and customers. He found much more than that once he was introduced to this otherwise secretive world of this type of sidhe. They were monastic in nature, and quite aloof, even for sidhe. But for good reason. It was the secrets of the past that they protected with the greatest devotion. They were only a shadow of the people that once was, but a resilient remnant nonetheless. They had done their world ever so well in preserving what was left of the ancient knowledge of their people, and foresaw a day when that knowledge would blossom and return the world to its previous glory.

It was a library of knowledge housed in ceremony, cloaked in metaphor and symbol. But at its root was familiar ideas that Mortimer only had begun to grasp, though he was unaware of it at the time.

At the conclusion of his inner journey facilitated by his association with the Good People that he was led to the next stage in his knowledge of alchemy. In seeking to apply the wisdom here gained, he sought out the smiths of western Europe, the dwarves of southern Germany and the the Alps.

It took him a while to find them, seeing as their considerable protective enchantments prevented only the most ardent seekers from finding them. It was from the dwarves he learned the craft of smithing and ring making. It was through the process of working with metals and fire that he had to learn to see the application of so many of the ideas he had been learning in theory. That's because the principles of Alchemy ultimately meant nothing and fell flat unless housed in practice. This point was pivotal.

The next stage of Alchemical learning Mortimer would become familiar with was the esoteric ideas he would absorb through his association with the people who would come to be called Mormons. They incorporated in a very condensed and applied way the ideas that Mortimer had been gaining through his own study. 

From this point, Mortimer began to rather confirm the ideas of Alchemy, rather than learn new things. 

His trip to India and seeing mandala fractals, his exposure to Einstein and the theory of everything. He would make connections and relearn ideas that would manifest in just a little different ways, enough that it would spur revolutionary explosions of thought. Each step confirmed and fleshed out ideas he had already been considering, but gave him further confirmation of their manifestation in the natural world. He also came across other versions of what he was learning, further encouraging and showing him that he was on to something. An ancient connecting pattern of ideas and truth that united and wove together otherwise disparate things that most of the world never sees as related. It also gave him power to master the elements of the world around him, as well as the innate power within himself. He also saw the connection to his own cultural heritage of magic, and that it wasn't anything but an extension of this deeper truth that related to all people and all things.

There were other important connections with the prophecies and promises that were laid in the various traditions Mortimer came across, but they all were extensions of the knowledge and power he gained through his mastery of alchemy.

And it was later that he and his brother determined to build a school, and eventually it was patterned after these ideas Mortimer had been rediscovering.

Enroll In The School

Masters Mortimer and Benjamin Blackburn's School for the Alchemical Arts is an an upper level educational institution specifically dedicated to the comprehension, development, and integration of the science of creativity.

Rather than a prescribed curriculum like that of the afore mentioned Blackburn Academy, each enrollee is carefully consulted wherein their specific goals and desires are understod and assessed. A curriculum is then designed around the achievement of the student's particular goals. We not only provide a structure to help students achieve their objectives, but provide support and fundamental instruction on the nature of the world and how to use to achieve certain ends.

We teach everything from acting to world building, from cleaning your room to overcoming false beliefs.

We also put on seven interconnected trainings on the practices, theory, and integration of positive mental health.

All the subjects we cover fall within three broad categories: Overcoming personal difficulties, developing new and necessary patterns, and cultivating storytelling skills.

Enroll here.