Cells And Their Royal Art
The Molten Halls of Aetna
I and II. Prophase. This appears to be under the direction of a crone with a spindle. She must be very gentle with dexterous fingers, for the operations in the vessel are a delicate mixture of moon water and earth vinegar. The beginning of this stage is marked by the disappearance of the nucleolus. Then the chromosomes become apparent. Each chromosome is loosely spiralled and consists of two closely approximated threads or chromatids, which are double chromosomes, lying side by side. The philosophical solution in which the chromatids are rendered corporeal appears granular, then nebulous, opaque and shadowy. Imagine, if you will, the crone pinching the chromatids together between her finger and thumb; this point is called the centromere. During prophase, the treasure of the chromatids expands the consciousness of the entire cell. And this aspect of the work we shall examine yet more closely… Mercurial brine is poured upon the chromatids so that they become shorter and thicker, and develop a definite shape. With the exception of sex chromosomes, ’tis now seen that there are two homologous chromosomes of each type. The two centrioles, which were divided at the termination of the previous mitosis (or in early interphase), start moving towards opposite poles of the nucleus. This is an opus contra naturam, that is, a work of great resistance, and is under the guidance of astral rays, that radiate from each centriole. These are very delicate achromatic protoplasmic rays, and, as the bodies move apart, the intervening rays meet and join around the crone’s central spindle; this she lengthens as the separation between centrioles increases. The astral rays and central spindle together constitute the amphiaster. Now the cell is ready to meet the shadow of the moon. At the end of the prophase (usually termed the prometrophase), a solar fire ignites under the nuclear envelope so that it disintegrates, and breaks into indistinguishable fragments that float in the endoplasmic reticulum, like asteroids around an exploding star. The spindle now sinks inwards, so that its axis lies on a line joining the two centrioles. The karyoplasm of the nucleus now contributes peripheral fibres, making a half-spindle, around the central spindle. The forces let loose inside the nucleus awaken a dormant love in the cytoplasm, that at once recalls its fist seeding as inter-stellar dust, when the Cosmos was created. Then the crone appears to lie down, outstretched on the equator, midway between the extremities or poles, which are at the centrioles. She is now turning into a mother…
III. Metaphase. The chromosomes become shorter, for the mother’s spittle has thickened them into irregular “V” and “J” shapes, with the centromere at the apex. Yet the component chromatids are tightly and independently coiled upon themselves, like an infinite snake. At the equator, each chromosome is connected to the opposite poles of the spindle by half-spindle fibres, and how the mother does this, I know not, but ’tis probably organised by the centromere. The arms of the chromosome float freely in the cytoplasm around the spindle. The plane of the chromosome is in the equatorial or metaphase plate, where the mother now lies in a great furnace. When viewed from either pole of her spindle, the chromosomes form a star shape around the equator; this phase is therefore termed the equatorial or aster phase. And so the chromosomes fly away to their respective poles, like black crows in a world of spirit, instinct and matter…
IV. Anaphase. The centromeres split into two halves which repel each other like loadstones; there are now two constituent chromatids from each chromosome, which float away, separating and travelling in opposite directions. This begins the process of distillation as the chromatids move along fibres of the achromatic spindle, and group at the poles. Now, after the distillation of the lunar silver, a white tincture appears, and a golden flower opens at the equatorial plate. The mother becomes daughter… Each polar group contains the same number of chromatids as there were chromosomes in the equatorial plate, and of these half are maternal in origin, coming from the ovum, and half are paternal, coming from the sperm. The movement is a wondrous dance, and as the daughter chromatids travel, the poles of the spindle move apart without alteration in diameter of the spindle fibres.
V and VI. Telophase. A new nuclear membrane forms around each group of daughter chromosomes, as the daughter empties her cisterns, causing membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum in the surrounding cytoplasm to coalesce. The chromosomes now become stiff, and can no longer be identified as discrete elements. The moment is now ripe for the procreation of the philosopher’s son in the vessel. The nucleolus reappears at the conjunction of sun and moon, inaugurated by the mystical sister, who, at the last stage, pours silvery grains into the cytoplasm, as the plane of her cleavage undergoes separation. Thus the original cell gradually divides. In this process small vesicles appear and coalesce, uniting with the plasma membrane. The density of the interzonal fibres mass together, forming Luna’s mid-body, which is pinched off by an eclipse as the cleavage completes. The golgi apparatus, which were invisible during mitosis, reappear and the centriole is duplicated. The daughter cells are at first smaller than the original mother cell, but they soon grow during the succeeding interphase. At a variable stage in this process, there is complex replication of the spiral braid, beyond the grasp of Hermes, as each chromosome unravels, and again comes to be composed of two chromatids. The duplication occurs in a regular sequence in the chromosome set, travelling along the length of each chromosome. But disaster may strike the work at any time. For there are many mitotic poisons without the cell, residing in the primordial soup. These poisons would disrupt or arrest mitosis, and prevent the crone from arranging the chromosomes on her spindle. This would lead to breakages and depolarisation if not kept out by the cell wall…
KREW. An accident Doctor Bucket? Methinks not. A Holy Creation! ’Twould be an arrogant sin to claim that the first cell was anything other than intelligent design. The omnipotent power of the First Cause of all things, has pleased itself that Life should have been created thus, and that Mother Nature should then occupy herself with Her many beautiful and wondrous creations, in sea, land and air, and so evolve all living things. But this does not deny the First Cause. To claim that the first cell was an accident, with all its inherent design, process and purpose, is like claiming that Chartres Cathedral was blown together by the illiterate wind!
Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2007.