Tag Archives: Alchemy

Three Treatises of Art

Three Treatises of Art: Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept, The Little Alchemical Farmer, and The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species by Two Anonymous Authors and Adam Michael Birkholz, translated by Russell Yoder, from Salamander and Sons, scheduled to be published already, but coming soon, will be available via Weiser Antiquarian Books.

Anonymous Adam Michael Birkholz Russell Yoder Three Treatises of Art from Salamander and Sons

“These Three Treatises of Art – namely Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept, The Little Alchemical Farmer and The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species – have been translated by Russell Yoder. Two of the three are presented in English for the first time, while the third is presented anew for the first time since the 18th century.

Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept
Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept (or, Idea Chemiæ Bohmianæ Adeptæ): The Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone According to Jacob Bohm (Amsterdam, 1690) is a rare and significant attempt to systematise Jacob Boehme’s Hermetic corpus. Drawing upon the High Dutch Philosopher’s works – including Aurora: Die Morgenröte im Aufgang, The Threefold Life of Man, De Signatura Rerum (or, Signature of All Things), Mysterium Pansophicum (or, Earthly and Heavenly Mystery and the Image of the Soul), Mysterium Magnum, Clavis, and Sixty-two Theosophic EpistlesAlchemy for the Behmenist Adept is concerned with “the preparation of the great Wonder-Stone of the Wise, the signs and colour which appear in the Work, their force and effect, and what commonly and especially to take heed of while at work …”

The Little Alchemical Farmer
A sublimely humourous pastorale, The Little Alchemical Farmer (or, Der Kleine Bauer) succinctly illustrates the familiar adage that “when the novice or apprentice is ready the Master appears.” Encountered on the path “between two Mountains,” this “fine old Farmer” is a keeper of high Mystery who generously expounds upon the crude ‘Second Matter’ and the conjunction of the red and white Star-flowers (the ‘red man’ and ‘white woman’) to become “the Prima Materia ‘of all metals’.” Before vanishing into the Mountain itself, this elderly ‘country gentleman’ describes the origin and root of all metals, the ignorance of the senses and the importance of prayer, “the white Mercurial Lily-sap” (‘Azot’ or ‘Gluten Aquilae’), and “[t]he sulphuric, incombustible, fixed, red lily juice” (‘Laton’ or ‘Leo Rubeus’), and emphasises that although “from the nature of these [white and red] flowers, precious stones and pearls grow forth,” the “highest object [of concern] is to further knowledge of God, and long life, and recovery from all diseases.”

The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species
A Treatise entitled ‘The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species’, with Selected Notes, from Compass of the Wise (Compendium of the Golden and Rosie Cross) by Adam Michael Birkholz (Berlin, 1782) elaborates upon Saturn – that “fiend, foe, and death of all metals” who is also “their resurrection and life” – and the spirit of this “child-eater, father, brother, sister, destroyer of all planets, friend and enemy …” In addition to describing this “right philosophical water of separation, which by its sharpness cuts all metals and minerals,” The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species discusses the properties of “our raw philosophical matter,” the principal Key to the work (“our magical fire”), the female Gold or Suns, the prophet Ezekiel, “the Boneless Fish [‘Euhmais’] which swims around in the philosophical seas,” the preparation of the philosophical ferment of leaven, the amalgamation of “the true philosophical gold … with a Mercury of Saturn,” and significantly more.”

Events at Treadwell’s for February and March, 2014

Here is a selection from the upcoming events at Treadwell’s Books in London for February and March, 2014, which may be of interest.

Treadwell's Books in London

 

Antinous: Last God of the Ancient World
24 February 2014
John J Johnston

John J Johnston Antinous at Treadwell's Books

When, in 130 AD, the beautiful youth Antinous, favourite of the Roman emperor Hadrian, drowned in the Nile, under suspicious circumstances Hadrian proclaimed him a god and his cult survived until the eventual fall of the Empire. Drawing upon archaeological and textual sources, tonight’s lecture explores Antinous’ religious and artistic legacy from the time of his death and apotheosis until the modern age, and examines the importance of his name and image to gay men since the 18th Century. John J Johnston is Vice-Chair of the Egypt Exploration Society. This event celebrates LGBT History Month.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Crowley and Politics
19 March 2014
Book Launch Party with Marco Pasi

Marco Pasi Crowley and Politics at Treadwell's Books

Tonight join us for the launch party of a seminal study of Crowley’s relationship with the politics of his times, published by Acumen. Crowley sought an alternative way to express his religious feelings, which led him to elaborate his own vision of political and social radical change: he announced a new era, echoing the ideal of a new man proposed by the totalitarian regimes and the radical politics of his era. Author Marco Pasi has worked with many unpublished documents and his study offers fresh insights. Joining us at the launch is Marco Pasi, Assistant Professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. Signed copies will be available on the night. Please note this event is a book launch party and not a formal lecture.

Price: Free but reply essential to be added to guest list
Time: 7pm to 9:30pm, speeches 7:46pm

 

The Oldest Sex Magic Text?
20 March 2014
Lecture — An Early Mesopotamian Tablet

The Oldest Sex Magic Text? at Treadwell's Books

A very early tablet, written in cuneiform, refers enigmatically to a sex magic act. Our speaker tonight reveals this brief but important discovery and uses it to shed light on ancient Mesopotamian ideas of ‘sacred marriage’, goddess power, sovereignty, hallucinogenic drugs and — yes — sex magic. Our speaker is an academic scholar in the field with a deep interest in magic. Tonight is for everyone with a fondness for Ishtar, Ereshkigal, Inanna, Enkidu, Tammuz, Pazuzu and the wonderful world of the Tigris-Euprhates valley. This is a repeat lecture: those who came in January and wish to re-attend may do so without charge: please email or ring.

Price: £7. Ring 0207 419 8507 or book online
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Alchemy’s Mutus Liber
24 March 2014
Paul Cowlan

Paul Cowlan Alchemy's Mutus Liber at Treadwell's Books

The Mutus Liber (The ‘silent’ or ‘symbolic’ Book), first appeared in the town of La Rochelle in 1677. The author ‘Altus’, is now thought to be Isaac Baulot, a local apothecary and physician. There is no text, and the work consists of fifteen plates apparently illustrating an alchemical process, a process which inspired the successful plant alchemy of Armand and Jacqueline Barbault in the 1960s. Some believe it to be entirely psycho-spiritual in its intent, while others interpret it qabbalistically. In this illustrated talk Paul explores each plate, offering comments and suggestions on the symbolism .We promise an enriching exploration of one of alchemy’s most famous enigmas. Paul Cowlan is a spiritual alchemist of over twenty years’ experience and a popular speaker.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Magic in 17th Century England
26 March 2014 (Wednesday)
Alexander Cummins

Alexander Cummins Magic in 17th Century England at Treadwell's Books

Seventeenth-century England — with its Civil Wars, Revolution, and Restoration — was a tumultuous place. It was also a period where early modern people consulted astrologers, magicians, and cunning-folk for a variety of occult services and magical objects. The stars’ influence was traced in all aspects of life: from planting crops, to political propaganda, to medical care and guidance counselling. In investigating early modern English astrology, this lecture will explore fascinating historical perspectives on the nature of time, meaning and human life. Alexander Cummins is an historian of magic and emotion. He is currently finishing his doctorate at the University of Bristol.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

The Magic of a Symbol

The Magic of a Symbol by Florence Farr, edited with an introduction by Darcy Kuntz, Vol 6 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2005 second revised edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Florence Farr The Magic of a Symbol

“This book contains Florence Farr’s ideas on Symbolism, the Kabbalah, Egyptian Magic, the Vedanta, Rosicrucians, Alchemy and the Tree of Life. Edited with Introductory Note by Darcy Kuntz.” [via]

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment by Frances Yates, the 2002 paperback from Routledge Classics, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Frances Yates The Rosicrucian Enlightenment from Routledge Classics

“In the early seventeenth century two manifestos were published which proclaimed, in terms of magic, alchemy and the Cabala, the dawn of a new age of increased knowledge and power over nature. These anonymous documents (reproduced in the appendix to this work) were written on behalf of ‘the Fraternity of the Rose Cross’. Ever since, this mysterious movement has been the subject of endless fascination, speculation and intrigue. In a remarkable piece of detective work, the renowned historian Frances Yates here reveals the truth about the ‘Rosicrucian Enlightenment’ and details its impact on Europe’s political and cultural history. She transforms, for instance, our understanding of the origins of modern science by placing it in the context of an occult tradition key figures such as Descartes, Bacon, Kepler and Newton. Beautifully illustrated, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment remains one of those rare works of scholarship which no reader can afford to ignore.” — back cover

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy and The Occult Sciences in Byzantium

Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium” is a paper by Michèle Mertens which may be of interest [HT David Pecotic]. You can gander at this short paper via the University of Liége’s Open Access portal. But this is an excerpt from The Occult Sciences in Byzantium edited by Paul Magdalino and Maria Mavroud, which full volume may be of further interest. Joel T Walker reviews the entire volume in Aestimatio 5 if you want a survey of the papers within the book, and there is a limited preview via Google Books as well.

“The main concern of this paper will be with the problems raised by the reception of ancient alchemy in Byzantium. After a brief introduction, I will start from the study of a pre-Byzantine author, Zosimos of Panopolis, and deal with the following questions: How, from a purely material viewpoint, were Zosimos’ writings handed down during the Byzantine period? Did Byzantine alchemists have access to his works and did they resort to them? Was Zosimos known outside the alchemical Corpus; in other words, did Graeco-Egyptian alchemists exert any kind of influence outside strictly alchemical circles? When and how was the alchemical Corpus put together? In a more general way, what evidence do we have, whether in the Corpus itself or in non-alchemical literature, that alchemy was practised in Byzantium? Answers (or at least partial answers) to these questions should help us to understand and define to some extent the place held by the ‘sacred art’ in Byzantium.

It is now universally accepted that alchemy came into being in Graeco-Roman Egypt around the beginning of our era and that it originated from the combination of several factors, the most remarkable of which are (1) the practices of Egyptian goldsmiths and workers in metals who experimented with alloys and knew how to dye metals in order to simulate gold; (2) the theory about the fundamental unity of matter, according to which all substances are composed of a primitive matter and owe their specific differences to the presence of different qualities imposed upon this matter; (3) the idea that the aim of any technique must be the mimesis of nature; (4) the doctrine of universal sympathy, which held that all elements of the cosmos are connected by occult links of sympathy and antipathy which explain all the combinations and separations of the bodies. The encounter of these different trends of thought brought about the idea that transmutation ought to be possible, all the more so with the addition of mystical daydreams influenced by gnostic and hermetic currents and favoured by the decline of Greek rationalism.” (205-206)

“Before 500 A.D., alchemy appears to be a rather marginal activity, as suggested by the absence of evidence outside the alchemical Corpus. In the sixth century, references to alchemy become increasingly numerous in Byzantine literature, but some suspicion can be perceived with regard to the sacred art, a suspicion reinforced by the schemes of swindlers. From the seventh century onwards, alchemy seems to have been perfectly well integrated into the official learning, judging by the vogue it apparently enjoyed under Heraclius. The evidence of the Marcianus (10th or 11th c.), the sumptuous decoration of which suggests that it must have been made for a high-ranking person, points in the same direction.” (228)

The Hermetic Art

Hermetic Art: Collectanea Hermetica Volume 3 [also], part of the series edited by W Wynn Westcott, one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, has recently been released this month in a newly typset and corrected edition by the Golden Dawn Research Trust, newly edited by Darcy Küntz, with an introduction by Tommy Westlund.

W Wynn Westcott Darcy Kuntz The Hermetic Art from Golden Dawn Research Trust

“This book was part of the curriculum studied by members of the original Order of the Golden Dawn. The Hermetic Art by a Lover of Philalethes is an essay regarding the Art of bringing all imperfect metals into perfection. The volumes of Westcott’s Collectanea Hermetica appeared over there three years from 1893 to 1896 when the Golden Dawn was at its peak. In every volume the intellectual integrity of the authors is evident, as is an eagerness to bring academic respectability to subjects derided by their contemporaries.

This is the first corrected edition since Westcott’s edition which was originally published in 1894. This edition has been Corrected against the original editions: Part 1 (1714); Parts 2 & 3 (1715); Westcott’s edition (1894). Parts 2 & 3 were never reprinted by Westcott and this is the first edition to contain all three Parts together. ‘The three parts transform the complete treatise into a coherent document” from Tommy Westlund’s Introduction. It also contains two reviews from 1894 and a rare illustration of an Athanor which Geber invented (1542).’

This edition was Edited Darcy Kuntz. A Note by W. Wynn Westcott; Preface to the ‘Hermetic Art’, by Sapere Aude; Preface to the ‘Hermetic Art,’ Parts II & III by A Lover of Philaletha; Introduction to the ‘Hermetic Art’ by Tommy Westlund; An Introduction to ‘Alchemy’ by S.S.D.D.; The Hermetic Art, Parts I, II, & III; Notes, Reviews and Bibliography. Hardbound. 6×9. xxxvi, 96 pp.”

Events at Treadwell’s Books for October, 2013

Here is a selection from the upcoming events at Treadwell’s Books in London for October, 2013, which may be of interest.

Treadwell's Books in London

 

The Lairs of Cthulhu II: The Hollywood Years
30 September 2013 (Monday)
Dr James Holloway

Treadwell's Books in London - The Lairs of Cthulhu II

Tonight archaeologist and Cthulhu buff James Holloway explores archaeological concepts found in Lovecraft’s mythos, turning to look at how these concepts of land, history and the past are reformulated in Lovecraftian-based films which have come out in the decades after the author’s death. A riveting and intelligent speaker whose ideas always invite new questioning, this lecture is a sequel to his now-famed 2009 Treadwell’s Lecture. Dr James Holloway studied archaeology at Cambridge University, where he received his doctorate, and returns to Treadwell’s with a warm welcome.

Price: £7
Time: 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start

 

Hocus Pocus: Witches in Film
9 October 2013 (Wednesday)
Judith Noble

Judith Noble- Hocus Pocus at Treadwell's Books

Judith Noble is a noted film scholar and expert in Western occultism, and tonight she examines critically the portrayal of witchcraft in feature film. Bringing together expertise in the subjects of modern pagan witchcraft, Western esotericism, popular culture and film-making, she offers new insights and raises new questions. A former producer who now lectures at University of the Arts in Bournemouth, she is a gifted speaker who returns to Treadwell’s at our invitation. It’s a lively, illustrated lecture for everyone.

Price: £7
Time: 6.45 for 7pm start

 

Alchemy: Symbols of the Rubedo
24 October 2013 (Thursday)
Paul Cowlan

Paul Cowlan Alchemy at Treadwell's Books

Alchemist Paul Cowlan lectures on the symbolism of each of the famed phases of the Work, the alchemical process of perfection. Tonight he unlocks the Rubedo, the final reddening stage, the Rising Dawn, the attainment of the Philosophers’ Stone. We learn what it looks like, how it can be ‘multiplied’, what its powers are, and what its dangers. We will also meet some of those who claim to have made or used the Stone, and will glance at both ancient and contemporary evidence for the reality of the Lapis. Suitable for everyone, this illustrated lecture will rock your world. Paul Cowlan has been practising spiritual alchemy for over twenty years, and is a popular speaker visiting from Germany.

Price: £7
Time: 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start

 

On Liber Nigri Solis
26 October 2013 (Saturday)

On Liber Nigri Solis at Treadwell's Books

An Afternoon Event
This modern astrychymical grimoire was published anonymously in 2004: an instant sensation. Theion Press’s new expanded version prompts a day exploring and unpacking it. Dr Eva Kingsepp from Stockholm University speaks on the history of the Black Sun symbol, from alchemy to Romanticism to German Naturphilosophie — to modern right-wing misappropriations. Andrew Vee, an author of the LNS, gives the second lecture, on gnosis of our solar system Black Suns and relevant fictive points, with the book’s applied workings and sigils. The event concludes with a “rite inscendence on a contra-solar journey starting from Casimi and finishing at piercing the Apex.” Drinks follow. Theion’s David Beth will be with us on the day.

Price: £15
Time: 1.45 for 2pm start, runs till 5.30

Crowley’s Apprentice

Crowley’s Apprentice: The life and Ideas of Israel Regardie by Gerald Suster, the 1990 paperback from Samuel Weiser, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Gerald Suster Crowley's Apprentice from Samuel Weiser

“Dr Israel Regardie was one of the most complex and fascinating personalities of the esoteric revival. In this new biography, Gerald Suster, a close friend and disciple of Regardie’s, brings together his life and ideas in a thoughtful and knowing way.

The esoteric revival began with the establishment of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the 1890’s. Regardie became Aleister Crowley’s secretary in 1928 and by 1932 he had become an esoteric writer and philosopher in his own right. Over the years Regardie moved away from the Order of the Golden Dawn into fields of alchemy and psychology, eventually achieving a brilliant reconciliation of psychology and his earlier esoteric ideas.

This study of Regardie illuminates his original and courageous thinking, as well as explores the evolution of one of this century’s greatest thinkers.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Blazing Dew of Stars

The Blazing Dew of Stars by David Chaim Smith is a new title, due Sept 29th, 2013, from Fulgur that may be of interest.

David Chaim Smith's The Blazing Dew of Stars from Fulgur Esoterica

“After the overwhelming public reception for David Chaim Smith’s The Sacrificial Universe (2012), we are delighted to announce a new book from this exceptional artist and author. Describing it, David has this to say:

The Blazing Dew of Stars is a complex mystical text which speaks with many voices to introduce the practice of kabbalistic contemplative alchemy (Iy’yun). It offers glimpses of a rare non-theistic non-emanationist view by direct application and immersion, intertwining both linguistic and graphic modes of symbolic communication. Its images and words intersect in the twilight of poetic resonance, which can be cultivated within the reader as the material is worked with deeply.

The edition is available in two issues. As a deluxe, bound in lavish full morocco tooled in gilt on the upper and lower cover with a gnosime seal, with custom dust-jacket and lined slipcase. And as a standard edition, produced in an identical format and quality of print and bound in rich black cloth and dust-jacket.” [via]

Inside the Mind of an Alchemist

Inside the Mind of an Alchemist” is a video featuring featuring Larry Principe from Bytesize Science.

 

“The world of alchemy is shrouded in mystery. Alchemists tirelessly sought the recipe for the Philosophers’ Stone — a substance that could turn any base metal into pure gold. The Philosophers’ Stone would give its user untold wealth and power, so alchemists were known to operate under total secrecy. They worked in codes and symbols — to reserve their great knowledge for only those who were deemed deserving. Instead of the chemical formulas used today, alchemists created elaborate, fantastic illustrations of dragons, warriors, and monsters to represent the chemical experiments they carried out.

Centuries passed, and many historical alchemical texts and images remain undeciphered. Luckily for the history of science, we have brilliant minds like Larry Principe of Johns Hopkins University.

In our latest video, we take a look at Larry’s work: digging deep into ancient manuscripts and texts, trying to find clues and cues as to what it was that alchemists really were up to. In addition to an enormous book collection in his office, Larry has a lab where he performs ancient alchemical experiments, helping to set the record straight on the history and development of alchemy. Is he a historian of alchemy or a get-rich-quick schemer in search of the legendary Philosophers’ stone? You decide.

Video by Kirk Zamieroski
Produced by the American Chemical Society”