Secrets of Alchemists’ 600-Year-Old Textbook Hidden in Strange Stains and Grime

The half-magic, half-science practice of Alchemy is still shrouded in mystery. Far from merely an obsessive quest to transmute lead in gold, alchemy was an old and complex school of study that laid much of the foundation for the modern fields of chemistry and medicine. In 2014, the Science History Institute (then called the Chemical Heritage Foundation) acquired an extensive collection of alchemical tomes from a private collector, including a 600-year-old leather-bound book titled (in quintessential medieval wizard style) Recipes and Extracts on Alchemy, Medicine, Metal-Working, Cosmetics, Veterinary Science, Agriculture, Wine-Making, and Other Subjects, or “the Harry Potter book” as it’s referred to at the SHI. It’s an alchemy textbook, with gold nails driven into the cover in the shape of a six pointed star. Written in Latin by an Italian alchemist between 1425 and 1450 C.E.,  it includes helpful instruction on how to make a dying horse appear well-fed, healthy, and […] Read More

Spiritual Alchemy – Casting Light on a Secret Science

Spiritual alchemy is closely linked to secret knowledge and many who have attained this level of wisdom later decided to withdraw from it as they found they were not ready to receive it. The purpose of spiritual alchemy is attaining an ancient state which allows access to answers to the following questions: “Who are we?” “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we heading?” Many say the Kabala describes the road and the destination, but alchemy describes the process and the transformations needed to find the required answers. Physical to Spiritual Alchemy Medieval alchemy has its origins in Egypt as it spread from this area towards Europe. Since that time, alchemy has often been described as “Ars Laboriosa Convertens Humiditate Ignea Metala In Mercuris”, referring to the transformation of fire’s humidity into mercury. In other words, it is the art of turning lead into gold. ‘Alchemist Sendivogius’ (1566–1636) […] Read More

Close Encounters of the Alchemical Kind

“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” ˜Mademoiselle Rose Bertin, French milliner and dressmaker to Marie Antoinette UFOlogy is a senile discipline. By this I’m not referring to its age, or how after more than 60 years it hasn’t seemingly come any closer into solving the enigma which spawned its existence. What I mean is that UFOlogy as a field has the terrible tendency of narrow-sightedness, and of forgetting the valuable lessons from the past. Some of our critics on UFOs: Reframing the Debate, for example, complained we weren’t really saying anything particularly original compared to the thinkers and ideas of the late 60’s and early 70’s; our defense was we weren’t actually trying to be novel so much as remarking what was pointed out by the true mavericks preceding us, but hasn’t been paid attention to enough by the newer generations… to the detriment of the […] Read More

Alchemy and Immortality – The Tale of Nicolas Flammel and the Lapis Philosophorum

For mankind, immortality has always been a remarkably fascinating idea. Throughout time, the quest to eliminate death in order to achieve indefinite life in the physical body has taken various forms. One of the most well-known of such attempts was alchemy. The main goal of alchemy was to produce the Lapis Philosophorum, the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary substance with the property of turning common metal into gold with a high level of purity and a substance which could help in making the elixir of long life. This prevented death, thus making the drinker immortal. According to some accounts it was sufficient to drink from the elixir only once to prevent death indefinitely, while other accounts sustained that a regular consumption of the elixir was necessary in order to remain immortal. The Philosopher’s Stone In alchemical engravings, the Philosopher’s Stone is usually represented symbolically in the form of an egg, […] Read More

Palingenesis – The Secret Science of Rebirth and Reconstruction of Life

Legend and history speak of numerous sacred relics with fabulous properties that have not yet been discovered. There is a long list of such artifacts and relics which includes the spear of Longinus, the sword of Nuada, the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and many more. The Loculus is also counted among these relics and it is said to contain the blood of Christ. Speculations say that it might contain the nails used during the crucifixion, smeared with the blood of Jesus. A reconstruction of the Loculus, an ancient satchel believed to contain the blood of Jesus. (Public Domain) The Parts Recreate the Whole As the concept of palingenesis promises the reconstruction of a destroyed body starting from its remains (ashes, bones, corpse) or from parts of it, (blood, tissue samples, body parts, organs, etc.) in order to understand exactly what can be achieved through palingenesis, one can […] Read More

The Dual Search for the Philosophers’ Stone

Richard Smoley, New Dawn To say what the Philosophers’ Stone – the great goal of alchemy – is, one has to know. And to know, one must have attained it. I cannot claim to have done this, so what follows must be speculation. The mystery grows deeper the closer one attempts to look. Even to say what alchemy itself is proves difficult. Of course, everyone knows what alchemy is – or thinks he knows: it is an outmoded form of science in which men in conical hats cooked and mixed various strange substances trying to make gold out of base elements. Or they sought to make the Philosophers’ Stone, a substance that was supposed also to produce gold – and to confer physical immortality besides. This project was totally deluded, but somehow gave rise to modern chemistry with all its wonders and curses. However cartoonish it may be, this picture has some truth […] Read More

Alchemy and the Men in Black

The dark night of Saturday, September 11, 1976 was the decidedly ill-fated evening upon which the Orchard Beach, Maine, USA home of a certain Dr. Herbert Hopkins was darkened by a nightmarish MIB. Vampire-like scarcely begins to describe the terrible thing that descended on Hopkins’ home. When Hopkins opened the front door, he was confronted by a pale-faced, skinny, ghoul; one that was dressed in black, had dark and hostility-filled eyes, and sported the de rigueur Fedora hat. The MIB made it very clear, and extremely quickly, that if Hopkins knew what was good for him he would immediately cease all of his then-current research into the life and experiences of a reported alien abductee: David Stephens, who lived in nearby Oxford. Hopkins, chilled to the bone, didn’t need telling twice. Just for good measure, the undeniably malevolent MIB – in monotone fashion – told Hopkins to take out of […] Read More

1702: Marsilio Ficino on the alchemical art

Item 7 from Ms. Sloane 3638. Transcribed by Justin von Budjoss. This text is a translation of a Latin text, Marsilius Ficinus, ‘Liber de Arte Chemica’, which was printed in the Theatrum Chemicum, Vol 2, Geneva, 1702, p172-183. It is not entirely certain if this text was actually written by Ficino, or was later ascribed to him. “An unknown concerning the Chymicall Art. But Lucerna Salis affirms him to be Marcilius Ficinus, an Italian of the Dukedome of Florence or Tuscany, in the year 1518.” Chapter 1. Of the generation of metals in the bowels of the earth. The opinion and determination of all who philosophize rightly is the same: that all metals are generated by the vapor of sulphur, and of argent vive. Because when the fat of the earth being heated, finds the substance of water somewhat globulous, it as well by its natural virtue, as by the rays […] Read More

1927: An Artificial Synthesis Of Gold?

You Be The Judge The select processes presented here, presumably appertaining to research and development of Jollivet Castelot, are facsimiles of photocopied excerpts once written out longhand by W.L.V…these are taken from a 20th century French text, concerning Castelot, translated to English. This research is in character, considered to be worthy of publishing for the conceivable, intrinsic value. Inasmuch as it is not the goal of alchemists to lust vicariously after texts extolling transmutations to make gold, nevertheless, these experiments were found to be of alchemical interest back in the 1920’s. Was Castelot on to something of an alchemical nature? In the increase of the gold found in the metals used he may have manipulated the seed of gold. A. M.W. House [Here is the text starting at page 125.] HOW I SUCCEEDED IN MAKING GOLD ACCORDING TO THE PROCESS OF MR. JOLLIVET CASTELOT – December 1925 By A. […] Read More

Alchemical Catechism

A SHORT CATECHISM OF ALCHEMY Q. What is the chief study of a Philosopher? A. It is the investigation of the operations of Nature. Q. What is the end of Nature? A. God, Who is also its beginning. Q. Whence are all things derived? A. From one and indivisible Nature. Q. Into how many regions is Nature separated? A. Into four palmary regions. Q. Which are they? A. The dry, the moist, the warm, and the cold, which are the four elementary qualities, whence all things originate. Q. How is Nature differentiated? A. Into male and female. Q. To what may we compare Nature? A. To Mercury. Q. Give a concise definition of Nature. A. It is not visible, though it operates visibly; for it is simply a volatile spirit, fulfilling its office in bodies, and animated by the universal spirit-the divine breath, the central and universal fire, which […] Read More

157 Canons

These 157 alchemical canons were published, together with the 153 alchemical aphorisms, in Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont, One hundred fifty three chymical aphorisms. Briefly containing whatsoever belongs to the chymical science. Done by the labour and study of Eremita Suburbanus. Printed in Latin at Amsterdam, Octob. 1687. To which are added, some other phylosophick canons or rules pertaining to the Hermetick science. Made English and published for the sake of the sedulous labourers in true chymistry… by Chr. Packe. London: for the author, sold by W. Cooper. 1688. This was included in the earlier compendium by Benedictus Figulus, Pandora magnalium naturalium…, Strassburg, 1608. To the Lovers of Hermetick Studies. ALL the Books of Phylosophers, which treat of the abstruse Hermetick Medicine, are of nothing but a Spagyrical Labyrinth, in which, for the most part, the Disciples of Art fall into various Ambages and Deceits; so that even to this […] Read More

153 Chymical Aphorisms

  These 153 alchemical aphorisms were published, together with the 157 alchemical canons, in Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont, One hundred fifty three chymical aphorisms. Briefly containing whatsoever belongs to the chymical science. Done by the labour and study of Eremita Suburbanus. Printed in Latin at Amsterdam, Octob. 1687. To which are added, some other phylosophick canons or rules pertaining to the Hermetick science. Made English and published for the sake of the sedulous labourers in true chymistry… by Chr. Packe. London: for the author, sold by W. Cooper. 1688. To all the Lovers� of the CHYMICAL ART. Gentlemen, About a Month since, I received among some other things, those 153 Chymical Aphorisms, from Amsterdam, where they had been newly printed in Latin, for which end they had been lately transmitted from Vienna, as appears by the Author’s Epistle to his Friend. When I had perused and well weigher them, […] Read More

Alchemy in Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah

Edited and prepared by Prof. Hamed A. Ead, Cairo University, Giza (During the DAAD fellowship hosted by Heidelberg University, July-October 1998)   Abd al-Rahman Ibn Mohammad Ibn Khaldun was born in Tunis in 732 A.H. (1332 C.E.) to an upper class family that had migrated from Seville in Muslim Spain. His ancestors were Yemenite Arabs who settled in Spain in the very beginning of Muslim rule in the eighth century, but after the fall of Seville, had migrated to Tunisia. He received his early education and where, still in his teens, he entered the service of the Egyptian ruler Sultan Barquq. His thirst for advanced knowledge and a better academic setting soon made him leave this service and migrate to Fez. During his formative years, Ibn Khaldun experienced his family’s active participation in the intellectual life of the city, and to a lesser degree, its political life. This was followed […] Read More