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Writing and Illustrating Draco Alchemicus

Thirsty for more? Check our STUDY GUIDES. 
Join the stream with the MOSAIC ARK.


The Ark gets ready to launch the Dragon Common Room Kickstarter by taking inspiration from Edmund Spenser’s own fund-raising efforts in the Elizabethan court. The professor explains how training in English Iambic Pentameter is so important and why learning to scan is a top priority for speakers of the magical tongue of England. Can you scan? — Streamed May 3, 2023

“Learn to scan.” — Kilts Khalfan

Designing the Dragon Sigil

“The alchemical desire of mankind for healing was amplified as the entire internet became a maelstrom of medical debate. And yet we found our healing in our story time, where Art became our focus. Art was our immunity to the fear. It was also the way for us to craft our own narrative within the chaos of lockdowns. And as we created this narrative, we began to understand the power of telling stories that orientated our focus away from fear and towards the only Serpent who cures all: the Brazen Serpent of Numbers 21:4-9.

“It was in considering the totemic power of this ancient Hebrew icon that we began to understand the power of symbols directing the culture of mankind.“

Bibliotheca draco-poetica


  • Holy Bible: Douay-Rheims Version (Charlotte, North Carolina: Saint Benedict Press, 2009)​

  • The Complete Old English Poems, trans. Craig Williamson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)

  • The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel, trans. G. Ronald Murphy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)

  • Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, trans. Mother Columba Hart (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990)

  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo, trans. J.R.R. Tolkien (New York: Del Rey, 1980)​

  • ​Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, ed. Thomas P. Roche, Jr. (London: Penguin Books, 1978)

  • Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis (1627)

  • Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda, The Mystical City of God, trans. Fiscar Marison, 4 vols. (Chicago: 1912)

  • Angelus Silesius, The Sorcerers’ Stone: Alchemical Poems, trans. Rachel A. Lott (Eugene, Oregon: Resource Publications, 2022)​

  • Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871)

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mortal Beauty, God’s Grace: Major Poems and Spiritual Writings, ed. John F. Thornton and Susan B. Varenne (New York: Vintage Books, 2003)

  • James Joyce, Finnegans Wake  (London: Faber and Faber, 1939)

  • Frank Herbert, Dune (Boston: Chilton Books, 1965)

  • Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters (1988), Witches Abroad (1991), Lords and Ladies (1992), Maskerade (1995), and Carpe Jugulum (1998)


  • C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Oxford History of English Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1944)

  • C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964)

  • Frances Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972)

  • Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979)

  • Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, 2019)

  • Marshall McLuhan, The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time, ed. W. Terence Gordon (Gingko Press, 2006)

  • Anthony Esolen, Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature (Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2007)

  • Malcolm Guite, Faith, Hope and Poetry: Theology and the Poetic Imagination (London: Routledge, 2016)

  • Jan Ziolkowski, The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity, 6 vols. (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2018)

  • Meredith Veldman, The British Jesus, 1850-1970 (London: Routledge, 2022)


  • Deborah E. Harkness, John Dee‘s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)

  • Alexander Roob, The Hermetic Museum: Alchemy and Mysticism (Köln: Taschen, 2001)

  • Lawrence M. Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013)​

  • Michael Hoffman, The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Independent History and Research, 2017)

  • Splendor Solis: Harley MS. 3469, ed. Thomas Hofmeier, Peter Kidd, and Jörg Völlnagel (Barcelona: M. Moliero, 2020)

Spices and Pirates

  • Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1968)

  • Pirates of the Caribbean I-V (2003-2017)

  • Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008)

  • David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Brooklyn, London: Melville House, 2011, 2014); The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (Brooklyn, London: Melville House, 2015)

  • Benjamin Breen, The Age of Intoxication: Origins of the Global Drug Trade (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

  • Kris Lane, Pillaging the Empire: Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500-1750, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2016)


  • Rudolph Steiner, Christianity as Mystical Fact: And the Mysteries of Antiquity (1914)

  • G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1925)

  • Owen Barfield, Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning (1928)

  • Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1936)

  • Joseph Campbell, A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: Unlocking James Joyce’s Masterpiece (1944)

  • Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man (New York: Vanguard, 1951)

  • René Girard, The Scapegoat, trans. Yvonne Freccero (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986)

  • René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, trans. James G. Williams (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001)

  • Richard Keller Simon,  “Star Wars and the Faerie Queene,“ inTrash Culture: Popular Culture and the Great Tradition (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999): 29-37.

  • G. Ronald Murphy, The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms’ Magic Fairy Tales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)

  • Jan Ziolkowski, Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales: The Medieval Latin Past of Wonderful Lies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007)

  • Margaret Barker, The Great Lady: Restoring Her Story (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2023)


  • The Aberdeen Bestiary, University of Aberdeen MS 24,

  • Henry Adams, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904; 1913) and The Education of Henry Adams (1907; 1918)

  • Émile Mâle, The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century, trans. Dora Nussey (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1913).

  • Robert Graves, The White Goddess (New York: Noonday Press, 1966)

  • Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. Marc Sebanc and E.M. Macierowski, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998-2009)

  • Gerhart B. Ladner, God, Cosmos, and Humankind: The World of Early Christian Symbolism, trans. Thomas Dunlap (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995)

  • Jeffrey Hamburger, The Rothschild Canticles: Art and Mysticism in Flanders and the Rhineland circa 1300 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991); and The Diagram as Paradigm: Cross-Cultural Approaches, ed. with David J. Roxburgh and Linda Safran (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2022)

  • [Valentin Tomberg], Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, trans. Robert Powell, with afterword by Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1985, 2002)

  • Craig Wright, The Maze and the Warrior: Symbols in Architecture, Theology, and Music (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001)

  • Michael Ward, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)

  • Jean Hani, The Black Virgin: A Marian Mystery (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2016)

  • Anthony Esolen, In the Beginning Was the Word: An Annotated Reading of the Prologue of John (Brooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2021)

  • Margot E. Fassler, Cosmos, Liturgy, and the Arts in the Twelfth Century: Hildegard’s Illuminated Scivias (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023)

Media Wizardry

  • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964)

  • Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art  (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993)

  • Herbert L. Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004)

To be continued...

Art is referential. I think it has to be. No one but God creates ex nihilo.

—V.A. Boston, commenting on The Mosaic Ark, Episode 41: Behind the Scenes

‘Draco Alchemicus’ “Is A Retelling of the Greatest Fairy Tale in the English Language”

Paul Hair

“Reimagined for a modern audience” is a phrase that no one wants to hear from Hollywood. However, retelling stories is as old as storytelling itself and is fascinating when it hits the mark. And Rachel Fulton Brown provided Bounding Into Comics with an exclusive interview about how Draco Alchemicus retells Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. The collaborative, illustrated project comes from the Dragon Common Room and the fact that it more than tripled its original crowdfunding goal shows that fans are quite excited about it. 

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