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NEW Translation: Thirteen Secret Letters

sam

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Thank you Sam for all these efforts to make a good translation. Very few of us here can read german, and it is greatly appreciated.

Thank you, and a big thanx to everybody who supports our work by purchasing the book from LULU.
There are some wild stories running around some of the less experienced (to put it mildly) alchemy forums - basically blaming me for "making a profit".
For those people I have to say two things:
One: if I actually would make a profit for the very intense work of translating such an ancient text I would be well within my comfort zone.
Two: HOWEVER as is looks in reality I am far off from making such, in fact this book likely is going to be a loss.
I am making around 9 bucks per book sold. I have paid $200 for the editor/layouter who transferred the word document into a readable book (with InDesign which I dont own nor know how to use), then $100,- for the cover design (I am not a graphics designer and I hate bookcovers that look ugly) and finally 80€ for the transcription from Fraktur (which I can read but I hate the typing). Thats about 400 bucks. From the 9 bucks I make per book the US federal government keeps 3 (LULU witholds 30% for taxation purposes because I am not an American citizen). So far 25 books have been sold and I dont expect it to be many more in the forseeable future. My guestimate is a whooping $250 LOSS on this project. The "Naturweg" was a slight profit, but not nearly enough to make up for this loss. So evidently this will be the last book ever published by me (or rather us). And I dont even account for the pirating via upload of scaned copies to "filesharers".
Happy now?
 

Seth-Ra

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Thank you, and a big thanx to everybody who supports our work by purchasing the book from LULU.
There are some wild stories running around some of the less experienced (to put it mildly) alchemy forums - basically blaming me for "making a profit".
For those people I have to say two things:
One: if I actually would make a profit for the very intense work of translating such an ancient text I would be well within my comfort zone.
Two: HOWEVER as is looks in reality I am far off from making such, in fact this book likely is going to be a loss.
I am making around 9 bucks per book sold. I have paid $200 for the editor/layouter who transferred the word document into a readable book (with InDesign which I dont own nor know how to use), then $100,- for the cover design (I am not a graphics designer and I hate bookcovers that look ugly) and finally 80€ for the transcription from Fraktur (which I can read but I hate the typing). Thats about 400 bucks. From the 9 bucks I make per book the US federal government keeps 3 (LULU witholds 30% for taxation purposes because I am not an American citizen). So far 25 books have been sold and I dont expect it to be many more in the forseeable future. My guestimate is a whooping $250 LOSS on this project. The "Naturweg" was a slight profit, but not nearly enough to make up for this loss. So evidently this will be the last book ever published by me (or rather us). And I dont even account for the pirating via upload of scaned copies to "filesharers".
Happy now?


Money and time are both stretched a bit thin at the moment for me - however i just purchased your translation through LULU after reading the preview. :)

From what little i gleamed in the preview, its following a train of thought of my current research and experimenting, so i believe it'll be well worth the price of the book. I also wanted to thank you for translating it as well as you have and that, all thieves and ass holes aside, i hope you continue your translation work as it is greatly appreciated. :)

IF its possible, and i can only speak by my experience with providing a service (not the same kind), that it is indeed a financial loss, but can be a gain in other areas, and should be looked at as a passion or hobby or simply a service to the Arcane Community.
(Not trying to compare apples to oranges, but the site i run, is done so out of pocket - and ive gone well over $300-400, with nothing to market... its literally a black hole for some of my finances, but its fun and I like it, and I like the little tight-knit community im fostering to grow. I would imagine you do enjoy translating and getting the good feedback, and the networking with like-minded and appreciative people, so while the money is a loss, there is a type of gain also.)


I hope that comes across as the encouraging and supportive post i intended it to be. ;) (im becoming sleep deprived at the moment, so... not sure how im sounding. XD lol)


Anyway, thank you sam, and if its possible, i do hope you can keep it up. :)






~Seth-Ra / Jessie
 

Awani

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So evidently this will be the last book ever published by me (or rather us).

If whatever you are doing is because you want to make a profit it is most likely shit... there are exceptions, but when it comes to good art (IMO) this rule generally applies. You see the masses have really bad taste. ;)

:cool:
 

Green Lion

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Very good job Sam.
Thank you for this translation.
 

Illen A. Cluf

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I have both your books, Sam, and they are both very good translations. Keep up the good work!
 

Andro

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I have both your books, Sam, and they are both very good translations. Keep up the good work!

And I don't even account for the pirating via upload of scanned copies.

I have recently heard about this, that Sam's previous translation work (Hermes Old and True Natural Path) has been scanned and made available for free downloading.

This is not some 'evil' mega-corporation or government mafia we're talking about, these are the efforts of a few private & dedicated individuals who have given their time and knowledge to this painstaking work of making these great texts available in English for the first time.

My recommendation:

BUY THE BOOK(S) ! ! !

(I did, and have never once regretted it)

And show a little support & appreciation in the form of some energy-exchange!

If you download a scanned copy, at least show your support in other ways, like a donation or whatever!

Sam, why don't you set up a donation option/link somewhere?

I.M.S.O.

----------------------------------------------------------
 

thoth

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I have bought both these books and they are very valuable from a knowledge point of view.

Even if you are thinking of illegally downloading these works, from a purely selfish point of view they will be worth many times their price in a year or two. (Look at the price of "Dwellings.." or "Works of Philalethes...." now compared to the original price.

And if you are serious about Alchemy, it is very nice to have real printed books rather than stapled A4 sheets.

Sam I really appreciate the effort you have made, and I would like to think there is some way we could encourage you to continue with these translations.

If the people who already bought your translations could promise to buy any future translations, maybe even electronically..........

It would be great to see an organisation like Ritman sponsor any of your endeavours
 

Illen A. Cluf

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I have recently heard about this, that Sam's previous translation work (Hermes Old and True Natural Path) has been scanned and made available for free downloading.

This is not some 'evil' mega-corporation or government mafia we're talking about, these are the efforts of a few private & dedicated individuals who have given their time and knowledge to this painstaking work of making these great texts available in English for the first time.

My recommendation:

BUY THE BOOK(S) ! ! !

(I did, and have never once regretted it)

And show a little support & appreciation in the form of some energy-exchange!

If you download a scanned copy, at least show your support in other ways, like a donation or whatever!

Sam, why don't you set up a donation option/link somewhere?

I.M.S.O.

----------------------------------------------------------

Hi Androgynus,

I'm not sure why you're implying that I "downloaded a scanned copy". I mentioned in an earlier message that I purchased both books and that I sympathize with Sam concerning the downloaded books (I will also be one of the authors of a book in the near future, and have been a contributor to a couple of books written a decade or so ago). In fact, I might have been the very first to purchase a copy of his latest book, since I ordered it minutes after he posted about the release (I mentioned in an earlier post how it arrived in a very few day's time - see Post #10).

I generally purchase books unless the book is out of print and no longer available. I far prefer a printed book to an electronic version.

Illen
 

Andro

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Hi Androgynus,

I'm not sure why you're implying that I "downloaded a scanned copy". I mentioned in an earlier message that I purchased both books and that I sympathize with Sam concerning the downloaded books (I will also be one of the authors of a book in the near future, and have been a contributor to a couple of books written a decade or so ago). In fact, I might have been the very first to purchase a copy of his latest book, since I ordered it minutes after he posted about the release (I mentioned in an earlier post how it arrived in a very few day's time - see Post #10).

I generally purchase books unless the book is out of print and no longer available. I far prefer a printed book to an electronic version.

Illen

Oops, TOTALLY unintentional!!!

I know you bought the books (I've seen the post you've mentioned) and I actually quoted you as a positive example, to support the purchasing of the books...

Sorry it came out the wrong way.
 

sam

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Thanx guys - into this equation funnels also my frustration about the generally very small number of copies sold, even before the scanned copy became available.
I know alchemy is a tiny corner of the world - but that small I did not anticipate. I certainly did not expect to get rich or anything but never feared that my initial costs would not even be covered. In fact I had hoped for an hourly income in the range of a McDonadls employee :cool:
 

Dendritic Xylem

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Sam, it has been published for only 40 days. You must give the people some time to find out about it. It could take a few years to become very popular. The good news is that you already finished the hard part. Now all you have to do is keep it on the market and you will eventually achieve your hourly income goal.

Thank you for these good quality translations :)
 

Illen A. Cluf

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Oops, TOTALLY unintentional!!!

I know you bought the books (I've seen the post you've mentioned) and I actually quoted you as a positive example, to support the purchasing of the books...

Sorry it came out the wrong way.

Thanks for understanding, Androgynus. By the way, Happy New Year!

Illen
 

sam

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Sam, it has been published for only 40 days. You must give the people some time to find out about it. It could take a few years to become very popular. The good news is that you already finished the hard part. Now all you have to do is keep it on the market and you will eventually achieve your hourly income goal.

Thank you for these good quality translations :)

Thanx a bunch for your understanding. But no, it does not work that way in the self-publishing world. I have 5 books out now starting from 2005 - and sales on the oldest are near nil (one per year). I was initially much better running than any of my alchemy books. But as a publisher you are caught between direkt sales with relatively high margins or neglectable margins if you go via amazon.

If a book has a target audience of roughly 300 people world-wide its a matter of luck if you make it or not, even if the content is superior.

Some authors in the field have dealt with this situation via the price. You find new books for $ 250 a piece. Only very few will purchase those but even if 3 do I make what I expect to make. Its more like a job for a client really. And there are quite a few "private" alchemy translations out there that will never see the bookmarket, made for rich clients. If this is not just a hobby thats the best way to go. I am in the middle, its a hobby but not entirely when it comes to translations.
Maybe a crowdfunded project would be an option. Once a certain sum is guaranteed I start working - in the end it will be published for small coin. That may work.
 

JDP

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Thanx a bunch for your understanding. But no, it does not work that way in the self-publishing world. I have 5 books out now starting from 2005 - and sales on the oldest are near nil (one per year). I was initially much better running than any of my alchemy books. But as a publisher you are caught between direkt sales with relatively high margins or neglectable margins if you go via amazon.

If a book has a target audience of roughly 300 people world-wide its a matter of luck if you make it or not, even if the content is superior.

Some authors in the field have dealt with this situation via the price. You find new books for $ 250 a piece. Only very few will purchase those but even if 3 do I make what I expect to make. Its more like a job for a client really. And there are quite a few "private" alchemy translations out there that will never see the bookmarket, made for rich clients. If this is not just a hobby thats the best way to go. I am in the middle, its a hobby but not entirely when it comes to translations.
Maybe a crowdfunded project would be an option. Once a certain sum is guaranteed I start working - in the end it will be published for small coin. That may work.

I have been trying for years to get people interested in cooperating to have alchemical texts in German translated into English but hardly with any success. Most people simply want translations for free, but unfortunately for them translations do not grow on trees ready to be picked by anyone who just happens to come by, they require effort to be carried out, and most people who are fluent in both languages simply will not do it for free. They naturally want a reward for their troubles.

By the way, since you are interested in this 18th century "Secret Letters" book and its "vitriol-from-marcasites/pyrites" claims that you took the trouble of translating it, you probably should also be interested in a late 18th century anonymous German work called "The Triumphal Chariot of Vitriol" (obviously the anonymous author got inspired by the title of Basil Valentine's famous text on antimony.) I have a translation (because I actually paid for it to have it translated by a German translator I know) of the second part of the text (which contains the experimental descriptions) but I don't have a translation of the first part, which contains a discourse on "vitriols".

By comparing all these descriptions of distilling "vitriol" found in texts like these, I really wonder what exactly can these guys have possibly meant by "vitriol", because obviously the sulfate of iron or any other metal will not do the things that they describe during its distillation. One only has to compare the standard descriptions of the distillation of vitriols in chymical texts like those of Glaser, Lemery or even Kunckel (who was an stout defender of alchemy and transmutation, unlike Glaser and Lemery) and compare it with the strange descriptions found in texts like the "Thirteen Secret Letters" or "The Triumphal Chariot of Vitriol" to plainly see that they can't possibly be describing a distillation of any plain metallic sulfate. What is observed during the distillation and the final products obtained are simply not the same as the operation with plain metallic sulfates. So obviously there must be some sort of "trap" here. Either the substance they are misleadingly claiming is a "vitriol" is actually something else totally different, or if it is a metallic vitriol then obviously they did something to it that they are omitting to point out.
 

Dendritic Xylem

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Check out this crowdfunding website...
https://www.kickstarter.com/

There are some ridiculous projects that get thousands in funding from random people. Some people browse the projects just looking for something to fund. You might be able to attract some newcomers to alchemy through such a site.

What are the other books you have published? I already have Old and True Natural Path and just bought your newest one as well.
 

JDP

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If these letters are based on genuine alchemical knowledge, then these letters provide some very good clues as to the nature of the matter. I hope that others who have read these letters will join in a discussion of what this matter may actually be.

Remember, that without the right starting matter, all else is in vain, and you could spend the rest of your life getting nowhere (as so many have done). It's about time that a concerted effort is made to discover this so-called "Antimony" (no, it's definitely not common Antimony). These letters are a great place to start.

To continue this discussion, Sam, why do you think the authors meant "copperas extracted from marcasite"?

Illen

I am in the process of reading the translation, and it is quite difficult not to conclude that the author/s is/are definitely hinting at either marcasites or pyrites of some kind. It is even clearly pointed out several times in these letters that the mineral being referred to is found among coals, or that it is hard and if struck (with iron/steel) can be used to make fire (with the sparks that fly off; old guns like wheellocks used this property of pyrites & iron to generate sparks and then ignite the gunpowder charge), which are things that mineralogists know very well regarding these minerals:

https://books.google.com/books?id=M...bs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=198&f=false

See page 198.
 

sam

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Check out this crowdfunding website...
https://www.kickstarter.com/

I will, thanx for the input.

What are the other books you have published? I already have Old and True Natural Path and just bought your newest one as well.

those are not related to alchemy, although my book on ormus in the broadest sense may. but that was a translation from english to german :)

I would like to translate von Bernus, a relatively unknown German adept of the 20th century. that may be a good crowdfunding project.
 

sam

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By the way, since you are interested in this 18th century "Secret Letters" book and its "vitriol-from-marcasites/pyrites" claims that you took the trouble of translating it, you probably should also be interested in a late 18th century anonymous German work called "The Triumphal Chariot of Vitriol" (obviously the anonymous author got inspired by the title of Basil Valentine's famous text on antimony.) I have a translation (because I actually paid for it to have it translated by a German translator I know) of the second part of the text (which contains the experimental descriptions) but I don't have a translation of the first part, which contains a discourse on "vitriols".

By comparing all these descriptions of distilling "vitriol" found in texts like these, I really wonder what exactly can these guys have possibly meant by "vitriol", because obviously the sulfate of iron or any other metal will not do the things that they describe during its distillation. One only has to compare the standard descriptions of the distillation of vitriols in chymical texts like those of Glaser, Lemery or even Kunckel (who was an stout defender of alchemy and transmutation, unlike Glaser and Lemery) and compare it with the strange descriptions found in texts like the "Thirteen Secret Letters" or "The Triumphal Chariot of Vitriol" to plainly see that they can't possibly be describing a distillation of any plain metallic sulfate. What is observed during the distillation and the final products obtained are simply not the same as the operation with plain metallic sulfates. So obviously there must be some sort of "trap" here. Either the substance they are misleadingly claiming is a "vitriol" is actually something else totally different, or if it is a metallic vitriol then obviously they did something to it that they are omitting to point out.

if you are willing to share the translated part I would be very interested to know how good this translation is as I have often considered paying for the work but then declined because a regular translator that I can actually pay (not too expensive) will usually be clueless about alchemy. This work requires quite some insight into the matter to not let complete rubbish be the result on the other end :)

you could upload it or email it to me with the german original if available. who knows, maybe I take a shot at translating the missing part.
I'll pm you may email if you are so inclined.

I have also requested clearance of publishing some of our lab results. It may take while for that to come forward, if ever. will let you know.
 

JDP

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if you are willing to share the translated part I would be very interested to know how good this translation is as I have often considered paying for the work but then declined because a regular translator that I can actually pay (not too expensive) will usually be clueless about alchemy. This work requires quite some insight into the matter to not let complete rubbish be the result on the other end :)

you could upload it or email it to me with the german original if available. who knows, maybe I take a shot at translating the missing part.
I'll pm you may email if you are so inclined.

I have also requested clearance of publishing some of our lab results. It may take while for that to come forward, if ever. will let you know.


The German translator supplies the knowledge of the language, I am the one who supplies the familiarity with alchemy/chymistry to correct as many unclear words or passages as possible. As you know, no one translation is flawless, your "Secret Letters" translation has its share of not so clear parts/words, but sometimes it just does not seem possible to give a fully satisfactory rendering of a particularly obscure word or passage in these old books.

I can send you a couple of the translated chapters and the corresponding original German, so you can be the judge of how well the translation of the second part of the book turned out. PM me your email.
 

sam

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The German translator supplies the knowledge of the language, I am the one who supplies the familiarity with alchemy/chymistry to correct as many unclear words or passages as possible.
That sounds very work-intensive. I have to refer to previous parts often to grasp parts that are unclear- some parts remain unclear even to a German WITH some alchemical knowledge, partly because the old language is different but often because the author has chosen to write it unclear on purpose (or so it seems).

In any case I pm-ed you, awaiting the excerpts :)
 

sam

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Check out this crowdfunding website...
https://www.kickstarter.com/

and there it ends:

* Project creation is currently open to creators in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Ireland

however, it seems to make little sense to crowdfund an ENGLISH translation of a German book in Germany. So a US citizen or British or Australian should do it and if successful transfer the funds to the translator.
 
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sam

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The lab responded rather unexpectedly generous and timely. So I am happy to have this compressed version of the path we take written up by the actual lab technician who oversees the process.
Some details are left out but no false information is given. However, as of now there will be no further discussion I was told.

---------------------------

The paths of Cyliani, Fulcanelli, I.C.H., Thirteen Letters, and perhaps Philalethes definitely require a mineral ore as our starting subject. If they didn’t, these sources wouldn’t go to such great lengths to speak of its qualities, origins, properties, and products.

As Sendivogius explained, the Spiritus Mundi condenses as dew from the heavens and falls to the ground, penetrating the ground, and according to the old conception it eventually turns into mineral form upon interacting with impurities and vapors rising from the bowels of the earth. Hence certain ores or minerals, some more than others, are crystallizations of the universal spirit, and hence it can be more easily found in the more suitable ones. Hence, the proper matter will yield more of what we need than other substances.

Fulcanelli and the Thirteen Letters claim the subject is iron pyrite, or better, its pseudomorph marcasite. If you know anything about marcasite, it breaks down rather easily and is known to be fragile, spontaneously turning to powder in specimen collections after a period of time. This is advantageous to us. Regular pyrite, depending on its semi conductive properties, which depends on its impurities, which depends on the mine and location within the mine, is much less susceptible to decomposition, hence harder to work with. Fulcanelli complained as much.

These sources go on to describe its physical characteristics, all of which match that of pyrite/marcasite in its various manifestations. It bears the mark of light, the X, the cat whiskers, the signature of radiance. And Fulcanelli emphasized strongly how iron has an affinity for gold, and that it contains a very good sulfur for the Work. Further, from a strictly chemical viewpoint, iron / sulfur / oxygen / water in various permutations form numerous compounds whose colors, odors, and textures fit those described in these texts.

Grinding this mineral to powder and exposing to nocturnal dew and lunar radiations is one way to accelerate its decomposition (and having it attract even more of the universal spirit). Alternately wetting and drying it, or gradually imbibing it, with dew or distilled water is another way. The result is the production of copperas, which can be extracted either via steeping and decantation, or as the Thirteen Letters recommend, directly heating and evaporating / subliming its constituents.

The goal, if I am deciphering the texts correctly, is to separate out the alchemical mercury and alchemical sulfur components. Once separated and purified, these may be recombined in a small sealed flask, putrefied to blackness, and eventually transformed into white philosophical mercury, which is the Stone in its nascent form.
That’s greatly simplifying things.
 
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