By Louisa May Alcott
One of 5 loved Christmas classics
A Merry Christmas collects the precious vacation stories of Louisa may possibly Alcott, from the dearly accepted xmas benevolence of Marmee and her “little women” to the undying “What Love Can Do,” in which the citizens of a boarding condominium come jointly to make a stunning Christmas for 2 bad women. Wildly well known on the time in their publication—readers deluged Alcott with letters tough sequels—and drawing on Alcott’s kin and reviews within the abolitionist and women’s suffrage routine, those tales have the genuine texture and element of Christmas in nineteenth-century the United States, whereas their emphasis on generosity and charity cause them to undying embodiments of the Christmas spirit.
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56 Without commenting directly on the eﬃcacy of such practices, we could note that most of the buildings at Ephrata stand to this day. If astrology and magic were part of the theosophic worldview found at Ephrata, so too was alchemy. There are two primary kinds of alchemy we might discuss here. The ﬁrst, of course, is spiritual alchemy—that is, using the terms of alchemy, like the “philosopher’s stone,” to describe spiritual transmutation. One ﬁnds spiritual alchemy prominent throughout the theosophic tradition, beginning with Böhme, but also in such later theosophic authors as Johann Georg Gichtel, whose Theosophia Practica is full of scornful references to physical alchemists.
It seems more than likely that many colonists carried over to America esoteric knowledge and practices, even if they did not leave much documentation to that eﬀect. Support for this hypothesis can be found in surprising and on ﬁrst glance unlikely places. 10 However, atop all of those documents is one of very great interest indeed: it is a manuscript written in a neat hand, mostly in Latin but also with some German text, that includes a host of dot patterns next to various aphorisms. That this manuscript was kept on top of all the papers may be an accident, but one doubts it, because the papers in question are all surveying records, and this manuscript links them as a manual of geomancy.
What is more, there is no conﬂict between these two streams; rather, they reinforce one another. Both oﬀer practical means to orient oneself in daily life, but theosophy has spiritual dimensions that extend well beyond the limits of astrology. Theosophy has to do with one ’s inner life; astrology has to do with one ’s worldly life. 9 How widespread was such esoteric knowledge in colonial America? This, of course, is not an easy question to answer. It is particularly hard to determine a satisfactory answer inasmuch as documentation is relatively spotty, and sometimes appears almost by happenstance.