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Aspects of Alchemy

Axismundi000

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Thank you JDP for your rebuttal of the basic Wikipedia description of Alchemy.

I invite you to comment on the following brief definition of Alchemy which mentions occult science and Astrology.

[link broken]


JDP I have to say there are so many of these, are you prepared with a wave of your hand to dismiss them all and continue to assert that you alone are correct and that so many sources are wrong? The absurdity of this is that I am not even trying to say that Alchemy is accurate or valid I am simply trying to verify a fair and accurate description of what it comprises.

I have just had a thought, if Chemistry describes itself as a science which derives from the protoscience of Alchemy and also identifies that Alchemy historically contained Hermetic philosophy but chemistry is an entirely empirical science. How can we then assert that Alchemy is also a science?
 

JDP

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Yet it is easy to see that in this image from the Mute Book, the male practitioner is summoning an other-worldly influence by praying, while the female holds her hand over the athanor, bestowing it with a spiritual force.

Obviously, this is shown because it was seen as an important aspect of the process by the author.

That is your interpretation of the drawing, which might or might not be correct.

Maybe in some cases, because they didn't take the spiritual part into account. In others, they just may not have had the ability to create the kind of force field that would have facilitated the process. So they ended up as mere "puffers."
But you said that this mysterious force works by not concentrating or desperately wanting to succeed. So how being unaware of it could make someone not to succeed as well? See the plethora of contradictions that all these weird claims lead into? The fact is that alchemy would not need such a deep preoccupation with the topic of obfuscating the materials to work with if the secret really depended on some sort mysterious intangible "force" that has to do with the operator himself.

As the illustration from the Mute Book shows, this is NOT a modern claim.
That was just your interpretation of it. Prayers were a very common thing in past centuries, when religions played a more important part in the daily life of people. You need to consider the historical context in which these texts or images were composed. That does not prove one bit that prayers are really necessary to succeed in alchemy any more than they are really necessary to succeed in medicine or any other field of human endeavor.

Why did the alchemists keep the secrecy? To accomplish the Great Work, yes, you have to be sort of called, and being able to master the psycho-spiritual aspects of the Art is a part of that, while finding your way through the maze of allegories and symbols was another. Again, that symbolical language designed to at once necessitate and encourage the development a advanced esoteric understanding.
Why the need for this double device? Just the "psycho-spiritual" part would be more than enough to keep "undesirables" from succeeding. But instead we see that the real preoccupation of the alchemists is to try to confuse those they deem "unworthy" when it comes to the MATTERS to operate upon. Why would this be necessary if, as you think, the real secret for success lies within the operator himself and how he "masters" this hypothetical "psycho-spiritual" part?

In fact, the Christian, Jewish and Islamic culture all shared the ancient Aristotelian/neo-Platonic model of the physical and metaphysical cosmos. This is the foundation of Western alchemy.

And how does this make anyone any closer to the goal? Further above, the alchemical "corpus" attributed to Paracelsus has been invoked as an authority. Yet it vehemently attacked and rejected Aristotelian models and concepts. Yet the authors of this corpus -not so much the real Paracelsus- claim success in making the Stone nonetheless. The point is that empirical facts of alchemy are independent from these theoretical/speculative concepts built around them by various peoples throughout the centuries. They are just interpretations of these facts. How is this different from other sciences? When you read chemistry or physics texts, what you find there are also theoretical "explanations" of empirical facts. To give you an example taken from chemistry: Lavoisier thought that all acids contained oxygen. Today we consider he was mistaken on this point. Yet he was preparing and observing the exact same acids as we are. His erroneous theoretical view did not stop him one bit from preparing acids and studying them, did it?

All science is an attempt to understand the working of nature. Having this understanding was considered crucial for great accomplishment in alchemy. Despite your words, you actually don't consider alchemy to be a science at all, it is a technology to you. How do you think it was found?
Like pretty much all other sciences, it was first discovered through empirical experience, trial and error, and then theoretical frameworks were built around it to attempt to "rationalize" and "explain" it. How do you think medicine, or physics, or any other sciences arose? Same way.

To me, it is a science. It did have some success in explaining nature. Today, some of its concepts require a revision and extension in the light of modern knowledge, but they are still viable, in essence. Alchemy stood at the beginning of modern science, and there is still much for the latter to learn from alchemy, both from its practice and its theory.

Alchemy's spirituality is basically Hermetic, and all references to the Abrahamic religions must be understood in that context. That's why the Mute Book promises the seeker "the whole of Hermetic philosophy," and that's why the Emerald Tablet - an absolutely fundamental text, as you certainly know - ends with the words: "And because of this they have called me Hermes Tristmegistus since I have the three parts of the wisdom and philosophy of the whole universe." It makes sense to assume that by the "three parts," the three Hermetic sciences are meant: Alchemy, astrology and magic.

These three traditionally shared an admirably coherent, universal natural philosophy. The advent of the reductionist and materialistic world view (such as you seem to subscribe to) deprived the Hermetic sciences of their rational foundation. Despite that, much of alchemy still works. And so do astrology and magic! They are all being practiced to this day by intelligent, thoughtful people - generally, they are not the domain of delusional fools (with some exceptions, of course, as has always been the case).

The lack of a contemporary version of the ancient Hermetic natural philosophy is a big problem. There is a lot of work to do in this area. However, some foundations have already been laid. This especially thanks to the efforts of certain progressive scientists in all areas, including a number of pioneers that do not yet enjoy the acknowledgment of orthodox science.

It is the synthesis of science and mysticism that can take humanity to the next level of its evolution - and that's a kind of alchemy as well.

Unfortunately, no one has been able to prove that things like astrology and magic really work and have a foundation on solid facts. That professional magician, James Randi, has been challenging this type of claims for decades, putting a million bucks from his foundation's money on the line, and no one making these weird claims has even been able to pass the preliminary tests, let alone make it into the actual challenge to prove his/her point and keep the million dollars for his/her troubles. And it is not for lack of trying, mind you. For about 3 decades, hundreds and hundreds of applicants have tried to make the skeptical old man swallow his pride and make him lose the prize money, yet all have miserably failed to prove any of their claims UNDER CAREFULLY CONTROLLED CONDITIONS, WHICH DO NOT ALLOW FOR CHEATING. That should tell you a lot about how much foundation these claims have.
 

JDP

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Thank you JDP for your rebuttal of the basic Wikipedia description of Alchemy.

I invite you to comment on the following brief definition of Alchemy which mentions occult science and Astrology.

JDP I have to say there are so many of these, are you prepared with a wave of your hand to dismiss them all and continue to assert that you alone are correct and that so many sources are wrong? The absurdity of this is that I am not even trying to say that Alchemy is accurate or valid I am simply trying to verify a fair and accurate description of what it comprises.

I have just had a thought, if Chemistry describes itself as a science which derives from the protoscience of Alchemy and also identifies that Alchemy historically contained Hermetic philosophy but chemistry is an entirely empirical science. How can we then assert that Alchemy is also a science?

Did you read the principal definition in your own link? It says:

1.The medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned with the transmutation of matter, in particular with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir

Notice that it says nothing about any supposed "magical/psychic/spiritual" forces emanating from the alchemist himself as being involved in the above goals. And the secondary definition says "SEEMINGLY magical"; and this is obviously a meaning used by people with little acquaintance with the subject. Dictionaries just collect the possible meanings, popular usage, etymological origins, synonyms, etc. of words. Perhaps you should be asking how the alchemists defined "alchemy" themselves, which would be a more interesting question. Here you have an example, the "Speculum Alchemiae" attributed to Roger Bacon defines it as:

https://archive.org/stream/rogerbaconessays00litt#page/292/mode/2up

"Alchemy is the Art or Science teaching how to make or generate a certain kind of medicine, which is called the Elixir, and which, being projected upon Metals, or imperfect Bodies, by thoroughly Tinging and fixing them, perfects them in the highest degree, even in the very moment of Projection."
 

zoas23

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Keep in mind that "The Chemical Wedding" was very likely written by Andreae, who was not really an alchemist. Many historians think the text is in fact a parody of alchemy, considering that Andreae himself characterized it as such (page 136):

https://books.google.com/books?id=-..."chemical wedding" andreae "a parody"&f=false

I think it isn't a parody in THAT sense, though it's for sure a parody in a different sense. Fama + Consessio + Chemical Wedding created a "myth" that has a lot to do with the satirical tradition of western mysticism (Apuleius' Golden Ass... the later Magic Flute of Mozart, etc).

What I like a lot of that myth is that they made sure of making the "biography" of Christian Rosenkreutz so absurd that it's impossible to find anyone who reads the myth in a literal way (something that often happens with, say, the Bible). The three books cancel the possibility of a literal interpretation... that's quite amazing for me.

Do we need some sort of "supernatural", "psychic" or religious motivation to be interested in alchemy? Isn't the subject of transmutation itself already fascinating enough to warrant its investigation? I never understood why some people with mystical/occultist/religious inclinations are so hell-bent on trying to claim alchemy for themselves and their beliefs and attempt to portray it in a different light than what it really was. This is certainly not how the alchemists themselves felt. To them alchemy was a means to defeat the "disease" of poverty, also to be able to help the poor, and, according to some others, also to cure the actual diseases of the body, while to the Chinese alchemists the most important goal for preparing the "elixir" was the prolongation of life, the transmutation of metals aspect taking secondary importance among them.

Never saw anyone "claiming alchemy" for himself (well, I saw some people doing it, but they fall into the category of lunatics and fools). I don't really agree with the way in which you understand alchemy, but it's very interesting to read you. I am aware that you have a vast knowledge of the classical sources... and it's pleasant to see how you defend your views, probably knowing that they put you in an uneasy position.... i.e, you are for sure aware that you are going to be criticized, or even mocked for having an idea that goes very much against the "idea" that probably anyone else has... but you defend your idea and your interpretation with coherent sources; and I get that it takes courage to do such thing, so I respect you (even in disagreement).
 

Axismundi000

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In most definitions the operation of Alchemy is the foremost thing this is true. However in most definitions and descriptions the stuff about hermetic thought generally pops up further along the entry, perhaps you didn't read down that far JDP. Here is another description of Alchemy I found on-line using the search term 'Alchemy'.

[link broken]

This definition has two numbered entries, are you going to discount the one that is about magical power because it is the 2nd one?
 

JDP

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I think it isn't a parody in THAT sense, though it's for sure a parody in a different sense. Fama + Consessio + Chemical Wedding created a "myth" that has a lot to do with the satirical tradition of western mysticism (Apuleius' Golden Ass... the later Magic Flute of Mozart, etc).

That was Andreae's opinion of what he said was his own work. He said that he was surprised that so many took it for a serious alchemical text.

Never saw anyone "claiming alchemy" for himself (well, I saw some people doing it, but they fall into the category of lunatics and fools). I don't really agree with the way in which you understand alchemy, but it's very interesting to read you. I am aware that you have a vast knowledge of the classical sources... and it's pleasant to see how you defend your views, probably knowing that they put you in an uneasy position.... i.e, you are for sure aware that you are going to be criticized, or even mocked for having an idea that goes very much against the "idea" that probably anyone else has... but you defend your idea and your interpretation with coherent sources; and I get that it takes courage to do such thing, so I respect you (even in disagreement).

But I am not really alone in many of "my" views. As I pointed out earlier, even an occultist like A.E. Waite realized many of the things I pointed out simply by examining a great deal of the literature. He concluded that the "spiritual" claims about alchemy were largely groundless and only a small part of its literature can somehow be branded as "spiritualist", and then again these are late works. And even many of the few examples of what some people brand as "spiritual alchemy" are very questionable. Khunrath, for example, couched his treatises with a language that uses a lot of "mystical" verbiage, true, but at the same time he shows a heck of a lot of familiarity with empirical operations with all manner of substances. His comments regarding the operations of the seekers that he brands as "bad-chymists" (Arg-Chymisten) are quite interesting. For example, Khunrath was very well aware of the issue of impurities in raw materials, and he blasts the operators who allow themselves to be fooled by them into thinking they have succeeded in making artificial gold and silver when in reality they have only isolated it from materials that already contained them in the first place. Ironically enough, chemistry constantly uses (and abuses) this argument in order to try to "explain" why alchemists believed in transmutation, yet in fact it has its origin in alchemical literature itself! Chemists simply "borrowed" this topic straight from alchemical literature, but of course left out the important detail of its origin and instead tried to pass it as if it was their own "discovery", that way they could brand the alchemists as self-deceived dreamers who thought they had succeeded in making precious metals. The deep preoccupation with manipulation of substances in the works of supposed "mystical/spiritual" alchemists like Khunrath or Maier already shows that the claim that they were not concerned with lab operations to make gold and silver and instead sought some supposed "higher meaning/purpose" is quite groundless. The topic of the Philosophers' Stone, transmutation and medicine still makes the center of gravity of the works of such supposed "spiritual alchemists". The fact that they liked to mix up some of their religious/spiritual/philosophical beliefs into the subject is really tangential. Alchemy can easily survive without them just like it can survive without your or my views on such topics. The Stone does not care what you think of it, it just "is" what it is, independent of what the alchemist who manages to discover how to prepare it thinks or believes.
 

JDP

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In most definitions the operation of Alchemy is the foremost thing this is true. However in most definitions and descriptions the stuff about hermetic thought generally pops up further along the entry, perhaps you didn't read down that far JDP. Here is another description of Alchemy I found on-line using the search term 'Alchemy'.

This definition has two numbered entries, are you going to discount the one that is about magical power because it is the 2nd one?

The secondary meanings are colloquialisms. Scholars/historians do not use the word "alchemy" in such a way but in its proper historical meaning and context. You have to consider that the average person nowadays has very little familiarity with alchemy. To them it is some sort of "magic" thingy. Consider that whole mess with J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" vs "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" title change as a great example of this. Even the author herself is rather confused on the topic, needless to say the editors/filmmakers and the average readers/viewers of the book/movie:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241527/faq

Why was the title changed from "Philosopher's Stone" to "Sorcerer's Stone?"
To appeal to the American audience. This was a marketing decision made by author Rowling and Scholastic, the publishing house that released the novel in the United States. The decision to change Philosopher to Sorcerer was made because, in the U.S., a philosopher connotes a scholar of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, logic, and other related fields. Philosopher does not typically connote an alchemist or magician, and magic is essential to the Harry Potter books. Consequently, the publisher suggested using another word with a more magical connotation, and Rowling suggested Sorcerer. Rowling gives this explanation: "Arthur Levine, my American editor, and I decided that words should be altered only where we felt they would be incomprehensible, even in context, to an American reader. The title change was Arthur's idea initially, because he felt that the British title gave a misleading idea of the subject matter. In England, we discussed several alternative titles and Sorcerer's Stone was my idea." For the movie, the different titles were used in different markets, and each scene where the Stone's name is used had to be filmed twice, once with "Philosopher's Stone" in the dialogue and once with "Sorcerer's Stone."


Never mind the fact that alchemists constantly kept referring to themselves as "philosophers" and certainly not as "sorcerers"!
 

Axismundi000

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This is just modern day marketing strategy for a novel, it is hardly relevant in helping to define the historical meaning of Alchemy or the atittudes of Alchemists to their Art.

So you discounted the second definition as merely a colloquialism JDP, how about this one.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/alchemy.aspx

An interesting one I think because it identifies disagreement over the extent to which gnostic thought had influence within Alchemy but nevertheless identifies it as being a component of Alchemy.

What say you JDP do you discount this one also?
 
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JDP

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This is just modern day marketing strategy for a novel, it is hardly relevant in helping to define the historical meaning of Alchemy or the atittudes of Alchemists to their Art.

It is relevant to those modern colloquial uses of the word that you refer to in those dictionary entries. It shows that such popular usages of words are often very unreliable and are based on people's misconceptions or lack of acquaintance with a given subject.

So you discounted the second definition as merely a colloquialism JDP, how about this one.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/alchemy.aspx

An interesting one I think because it identifies disagreement over the extent to which gnostic thought had influence within Alchemy but nevertheless identifies it as being a component of Alchemy.

What say you JDP do you discount this one also?

Gnosticism's connection with alchemy is the fact that many early alchemists were Gnostics. But from here to saying that Gnosticism is a component of alchemy is a stretch. Ask the many other alchemists throughout history who were not Gnostics or knew anything regarding the subject yet claimed success in finding the Stone just as well. So is Gnosticism really an integral part of alchemy? No. If it was, then we should expect all alchemists to have been followers of this religion/philosophy. Being a Gnostic would be an indispensable condition to be an alchemist. Once again: the Stone does NOT care what people think or believe. It just "is". No matter how you seek to "explain" it, it won't be affected one bit by your ideas and thoughts on it, not anymore than gravity will stop being what it is just because of what you might think or believe about it.
 

Axismundi000

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Thank you for your many responses. You have worn me down here. May I wish you every success in your Alchemy work which you consider an entirely scientific, empirical pursuit (I do not). Presumably therefore once you prove your theories about the philosopher's stone; you will publish your empirical findings to be verified by other researches who may check your findings by repeating your experiments. Should this occur please post a link on this forum so that I may check your findings myself.

Than you for your time JDP.
 
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JDP

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The biggest thing we ALL have in common is "alchemy"... and even the definition of what is alchemy is conflictive (i.e, I can't imagine JDP and you writing a joint book titled "What is alchemy?"... this is just an example).

That would be true if alchemy were not real. Each person could define it as one pleases. But since it is quite real, this idea that anyone can define "alchemy" as it suits his fancy is merely a delusion. It's like claiming that everyone can have their very own arbitrary definition of "physics", "chemistry", "biology", "geology", "geometry", etc. No, those are all well-defined fields of human endeavor, you can't go around changing their definitions to suit your fancy. So is alchemy.


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zoas23

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That would be true if alchemy were not real. Each person could define it as one pleases. But since it is quite real, this idea that anyone can define "alchemy" as it suits his fancy is merely a delusion. It's like claiming that everyone can have their very own arbitrary definition of "physics", "chemistry", "biology", "geology", "geometry", etc. No, those are all well-defined fields of human endeavor, you can't go around changing their definitions to suit your fancy. So is alchemy.

A perfect example of what I meant. I get your ideas and respect your views... but your reply explains what I meant: what we have in common is "Alchemy" and even the definition of what is alchemy is conflictive. I simply mentioned Dev and you because you are the two most different persons in the forum when it comes to defining "alchemy" (the definition is not important here, it was just an example). I would comment your definition if the thread was about such topic, but it was simply an example.

BUT my point is that if I create a team of two, Dev and you and I ask you to do something that would create a "change" or an "impact"... the outcome will probably be nothing, because I don't think the two of you have much in common (I don't mean that you are enemies or should dislike each other, I simply mean that it's quite hard or even impossible to "create something with a direction" if the ideas are so different).
 

JDP

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A perfect example of what I meant. I get your ideas and respect your views... but your reply explains what I meant: what we have in common is "Alchemy" and even the definition of what is alchemy is conflictive. I simply mentioned Dev and you because you are the two most different persons in the forum when it comes to defining "alchemy" (the definition is not important here, it was just an example). I would comment your definition if the thread was about such topic, but it was simply an example.

BUT my point is that if I create a team of two, Dev and you and I ask you to do something that would create a "change" or an "impact"... the outcome will probably be nothing, because I don't think the two of you have much in common (I don't mean that you are enemies or should dislike each other, I simply mean that it's quite hard or even impossible to "create something with a direction" if the ideas are so different).

But you miss the point: alchemy defines itself simply because it exists. It is the search for the Philosophers' Stone and transmutation. No amount of trying to twist and tinker with its very own nature and reason for being is going to change what it actually is. It is not up to me or Dev to define something that is already defined and explained by the old literature on the subject. It would be as absurd as trying to arbitrarily define the other fields mentioned in my previous post. Why? They are already defined by their respective literary histories.
 

elixirmixer

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But you miss the point: alchemy defines itself simply because it exists. It is the search for the Philosophers' Stone and transmutation. No amount of trying to twist and tinker with its very own nature and reason for being is going to change what it actually is. It is not up to me or Dev to define something that is already defined and explained by the old literature on the subject. It would be as absurd as trying to arbitrarily define the other fields mentioned in my previous post. Why? They are already defined by their respective literary histories.

I agree, even this separation of Spagyrics from Alchemy I think is a bit absurd. After all, Spagyrics is the training required to succeed in Alchemy is it not? The two are so deeply linked that I find it a worthless cause to try to rationalise a separation. They both rely on the same principals, and to me, the Alchemy umbrella constitutes all of these practises.

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JDP

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I agree, even this separation of Spagyrics from Alchemy I think is a bit absurd. After all, Spagyrics is the training required to succeed in Alchemy is it not? The two are so deeply linked that I find it a worthless cause to try to rationalise a separation. They both rely on the same principals, and to me, the Alchemy umbrella constitutes all of these practises.

It depends on what you view as "spagyrics". If by that is meant the works and procedures of the pharmaceutical "chymists" of the 16th to 18th century (a la Guibert, Rolfinck, Glaser, Lemery, etc.) then the separation is obvious and made by the alchemists themselves, who considered such people as "vulgar/ordinary chymists", they certainly did not consider them their "colleagues". However, many people used the word as synonymous with "alchemy" (Batsdorff, for example, refers to alchemy as "The Spagyric Republic".)

I fully endorse such a separation, though, as there needs to be a clear distinction between the processes that lead to the Stone (real alchemy) and those that do not (the common reactions and procedures that modern chemistry inherited from that "vulgar/ordinary chymistry" that the alchemists kept attacking.) In fact, I go even further and, taking a cue from Macquer (who himself fits into the "vulgar/ordinary chymist" class), introduce a third "group", which does not quite fit into the "alchemists" category but who are not like ordinary "chymists" either:

1- Alchemists

2- Vulgar/Ordinary Chymists (most of these in fact flat out denied or scorned transmutation; typical examples would be Guibert, Glaser, Lemery, etc.)

3- Transmutational Chymists (i.e. chymists who did not claim to know how to make the Philosophers' Stone but who say they have succeeded in other kinds of transmutations, usually referred to as "particulars" in the literature, and stoutly defend the reality of transmutation; typical examples of this category would be Glauber, Kunckel, Becher, Juncker, Creiling, etc.)


And then there are some writers who don't quite fit into any of these categories. Caspar Neumann, for example, does not fit into any of them, even though he was well aware of the empirical reality of transmutation (so he does not quite fit into number 2), but he himself does not devote any large amount of space of his work to the subject (so he does not quite fit into number 3), and moreover he scorns the alchemists and the Philosophers' Stone (so he does not fit at all in number 1).


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elixirmixer

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Does everyone realise that the standard Spagyric work is just a dumbed down, safer version of making the stone, except that the plant elixirs are actually specified, while the stone is not.

Well that's how I see it anyway, and I'm really not sure how else to see it. I certainly do not attribute Spagyrics with old school big pharma. To me it is the foundation of the Holy Art. Not to be confused with experimental chemistry. Spagyrics philosophy exists in the same realms as our alchemical theories.

Spagyrics is specifically the encapsulation and purification of the three principals, which are philosophical in nature, and one does not require any knowledge of chemistry at all to perform this art (although it is an obvious advantage)

I am slightly offended, that you imply that spagyrics is a lowly form of medicine. Elixir Mixer is sad :(
 

JDP

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Does everyone realise that the standard Spagyric work is just a dumbed down, safer version of making the stone, except that the plant elixirs are actually specified, while the stone is not.

Well that's how I see it anyway, and I'm really not sure how else to see it. I certainly do not attribute Spagyrics with old school big pharma. To me it is the foundation of the Holy Art. Not to be confused with experimental chemistry. Spagyrics philosophy exists in the same realms as our alchemical theories.

Spagyrics is specifically the encapsulation and purification of the three principals, which are philosophical in nature, and one does not require any knowledge of chemistry at all to perform this art (although it is an obvious advantage)

I am slightly offended, that you imply that spagyrics is a lowly form of medicine. Elixir Mixer is sad :(

Look at the history of the word and you will see why it was applied to pharmaceutical "chymistry". It was coined by Paracelsus and adopted by his iatrochemical followers. The objective of these people was to make medicines, not the Philosophers' Stone and transmutation. Paracelsus himself even confessed in one of his authentic books that he had not made the Stone. To him "alchemy" was more about making medicines. So from the very beginning "spagyrics" was attached to medicine. This is in stark contrast to the literature of the alchemists, where the Stone and transmutation reigns as the ultimate goal. Compare typical alchemical works, like those of Ripley or Norton, for example, to those of Paracelsus (his authentic works) and his followers. There is barely any similitude at all.

As for the plant "elixirs": they have nothing to do with the Philosophers' Stone. Totally different substances. It's almost like saying that aspirin is just a "dumbed down, safer version" of the Stone!!! Can aspirin or any so-called plant elixir change metals into silver and gold? Don't think so. People need to actually read more what the actual alchemists (not modern "New Age" gurus) say about the subject and how they clearly distinguished between their methods and objectives and those of "sophists", "puffers" and "vulgar chymists", with their multitude of processes and methods. Regarding medicinal objectives, the alchemists generally were only interested in the Philosophers' Stone and the remarkable therapeutic properties they attributed to it. All other medicines were considered inferior and not worth wasting much time and money on.
 

black

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This is going a bit off topic so we may need a new thread ? or not.

Using the materials required for the Great Work:

1. The Agent
2. The Patient

Working these two upon each other we get the Alchemic Blackness = Putrefaction,
and then continuing on through the many colors till it gives up the Quintessence
after some time and many operations.

To my understanding this is a (possibly the only) Alchemic Process.

If this Process does not take place then there is no Alchemy happening, therefore
there is no Alchemist doing the said Work.
 

True Initiate

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I would love to ask you were is the putrefaction in the Dry Path exactly? In reduction of Regulus?
 

black

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I would love to ask you were is the putrefaction in the Dry Path exactly? In reduction of Regulus?

Being only a student/researcher of Alchemy I don't think that I'm sufficiently
equipped to answer that question at the moment.

But I will say that I view it (the terms wet and dry way) as a bit of a stumbling
block to confuse rather than to clarify the ease of the work involved.

This may sound like a bit of a naive opinion .... but that's ok for a student.

It is most simple for the old maters to describe the Great Work in the deepest
of convoluted and impenetrable jargon that we become totally lost in this maze
if we do not have the eye to read their simple meaning.
 

black

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Being only a student/researcher of Alchemy I don't think that I'm sufficiently
equipped to answer that question at the moment.

But I will say that I view it (the terms wet and dry way) as a bit of a stumbling
block to confuse rather than to clarify the ease of the work involved.

This may sound like a bit of a naive opinion .... but that's ok for a student.

It is most simple for the old maters to describe the Great Work in the deepest
of convoluted and impenetrable jargon that we become totally lost in this maze
if we do not have the eye to read their simple meaning.

I felt a need to expand a little on the previous post.

If the old masters can keep the multitude of would-be alchemists dancing to the many
supposed tunes in their writings ... those many dancers will not have the time or the
peace of mind to contemplate the true Alchemic symphony that is continually playing
in the background of the Great Written works.

We need to attune our Alchemic Senses of Sight, Hearing, Feeling and possibly
other senses that transcend this physical reality so that we may also transcend from
what we are now via the Great Work to a more evolved consciousness.

And of cause all the other stuff as well ... gold, gold, silver, medicine, gold, long life,
even more gold and possibly even immortality with infinite amounts of gold. :D
 

JDP

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I would love to ask you were is the putrefaction in the Dry Path exactly? In reduction of Regulus?

Are you sure there even is a "regulus" to begin with in the "Dry Path"? Unless by "regulus" you here mean "metal" in general and not just antimony regulus specifically. But all such reduction operations belong to ordinary chemistry, even though they can be used by the alchemist himself, they are not absolutely necessary, as one can easily procure perfectly fine metals like the metallurgical industry offers them to the public and not have to bother reducing or purifying them. Plus one can also have recourse to some of their compounds, some of which occur naturally (i.e. minerals/ores.) In fact, the anonymous visitor in Helvetius' account preferred them over using the metals directly:

"Yet, in the mean while, I again and again requested information of him, whether this Philosophick Work, required great Charges in the preparing, and a very long Time. O my Friend, answered he, you very accurately affect to know all things, yet I will open this to you; The Charge is not great, nor is the Time long. But, as touching the matter of which our Arcanum is made, I would have you to know; there are only two Metals and Minerals, of which it is prepared. And because the Sulphur of Philosophers is more abundant in these Minerals, therefore it is made of them.

Then I again asked him: What the Menstruum was, and whether the Operations were made in Glasses, or in Crucibles. He answered; The Menstruum is a Celestial Salt, or a Salt of Celestial Virtue, by the benefit of which, Philosophers only dissolve the Terrene Metallick Body, and in dissolving, the noble Elixir of Philosophers is produced."


What one cannot obtain from ordinary chemistry is the secret solvent, since it knows JACK-SQUAT about its preparation. There is NO CHOICE here but to know about alchemy, which gravitates around the preparation and use of this special solvent. Ordinary chemistry cannot help here. Not even the more arcane "chymistry" can, as it also failed to discover this special solvent of the alchemists (but chymistry can still provide some peculiar "menstruums" that will have interesting effects on some metals.)
 

Ghislain

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Logistical Note: Continued from HERE.

Welcome to the perennial conundrum & contradiction of all those who actually take that whole "universal solvent" thing quite literally. Kunckel used to mock their beliefs by pointing out one pertinent fact: if this thing really dissolves "everything", then how can you possibly prepare it or store it? It would dissolve the vessels used for the purpose!

Hence why the texts are most probably referring to a person's internal metal, the body being the one vessel.

Alchemy, Transmutation of the Soul- The Great Work

Base Metal into Gold: The Process of the Soul's Transmutation [link broken] by Anne Baring: A highly recommended read.

Ghislain


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JDP

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Hence why the texts are most probably referring to a person's internal metal, the body being the one vessel.

Alchemy, Transmutation of the Soul- The Great Work

Base Metal into Gold: The Process of the Soul's Transmutation by Anne Baring: A highly recommended read.

Ghislain

Or in fact something infinitely more plausible, logical and in accordance to the historical context in which the expression appeared than such modern misinterpretations of alchemy... I will let Fulcanelli explain it, since he did a very nice job at it:

Thus it has been called the universal solvent, not because it is capable of dissolving all bodies in nature --- as many wrongly believe --- but because it can do everything in the small universe which the Great Work constitutes.

The mistake many made was to take such a denomination as "universal solvent" totally literally. It obviously does not dissolve literally "everything", otherwise the subject would fall into impossible paradoxes like those Kunckel pointed out.
 

Ghislain

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I would like to thank JDP, for without his comment...

Welcome to the perennial conundrum & contradiction of all those who actually
take that whole "universal solvent" thing quite literally. Kunckel used to mock their beliefs by
pointing out one pertinent fact: if this thing really dissolves "everything", then how can you possibly
prepare it or store it? It would dissolve the vessels used for the purpose!

...I would not have stumbled upon...

Base Metal into Gold: The Process of the Soul's Transmutation by Anne Baring

...which I have just finished reading from beginning to end.

The greatest alchemical text I have ever read.

Synchronicity in action!

Ghislain