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January 2005

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Subject: ACADEMY: Help with some 16th century German verses
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7 Jan 2005

I wonder if anyone might care to help me by translating some
short verses in early 16th century German which I cannot
translate. It should be quite easy for a German speaker
who knows the old spellings, but there are a number of
phrases I cannot quite make out.

These are from a remarkable painted tabletop which I have
known about for some years but only managed to get a good
quality reproduction of it recently. This is the work of Martin Schaffner
(1478-1546) and the amazing table which incorporates planetary
symbolism was made in 1533. It incorporates the planetary symbolism
found in the 'Spendor Solis' flasks sequence and the Beham
woodcuts, which we discussed here during the Summer or Autumn of
2004.

I have placed an image of the table, and a transcription of the
German verses for each of the planets onto this page

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/astrological_table.html

Thanks,

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Help with some 16th century German verses
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: 8 Jan 2005

Dear Adam,

What a beautiful table... my wife and I can surely make a good translation
for you (she's German, and I work with sixteenth century German all the
time). Whether it will rhyme or not, I don't know, but I can try...

cheers
Hereward Tilton



Subject: ACADEMY: Help with some 16th century German verses
From: Adam McLean
Date: 8 Jan 2005

Hereward Tilton wrote:

>What a beautiful table... my wife and I can surely make a good translation
>for you (she's German, and I work with sixteenth century German all the
>time). Whether it will rhyme or not, I don't know, but I can try...

Thanks for the help with this. I don't think one needs to struggle to
rhyme it in English. Also I think one can move words across lines
to make the best sense in English. What I am interested in is a clear
statement in English of the ideas, which are quite straightforward
of course, dealing with planetary associations with the liberal
arts, which are depicted as the female figures around the painting
each surrounded by relevant symbolic objects.

If I can find time this year I would like to make a facsimile painting
of this amazing piece.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Dorn's 'Speculativa Philosophia'
From: Adam McLean
Date: 8 Jan 2005

Has anyone made a study of Gerhart Dorn's work 'Speculativa Philosophia'
which is included among the collection of his works printed in the
first volume of the 'Theatrum Chemicum'.

This work is much quoted from by Jung, but I cannot find his
quotes in the work itself. It is a work in Latin of around 15000
words and I have not been able to do more than stratch about
on its surface. A couple of hours with this book in the Library
on Friday did not get me far unfortunately. Not that the Latin is
particularly difficult, but it is a moderately long work. After an
introduction Dorn presents seven chapters each of which describe
one of the steps to his'Speculativa Philosophia'.

Jung presents Dorn almost as a proto-Jungian, an alchemist
seemingly in harmony with the major Jungian ideas about the
structure of the psyche. Maybe I am just incapable of finding these
references, but I cannot immediately recognise the Dorn
presented by Jung in Dorn's own text.

Has anyone made a study of this work? I suspect it is too
long ever to be translated into English. I would welcome any
insights into Dorn's ideas and approach.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: Rafal Prinke
Date: 8 Jan 2005

Cornelis Drebbel wrote two short books on alchemy, later usually
published together. The earlier one, "On the nature of the elements",
contains what has been interpreted as a reference to oxygen
produced from saltpetre.
I have seen informal references to a Haarlem 1604 edition of it
but could not find a reliable verification of its existence.
None of the standard alchemical bibliographies lists it and
none of the on-line catalogues I have checked lists it.
Also the DSB says it was first published in 1608 in Leiden
(but the title page clearly states it was translated from Dutch).
Does anyone know of a surviving copy of the 1604 edition?
And when was the first edition of his other treatise
(De quinta essentia) first published?

Best regards,

Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky
Date: 9 Jan 2005

Dear Rafal,

The Leiden 1708 edition says that the tract was " in Niederlandisch geschrieben".
It does not say that it was published in Dutch. The censorship of the original
Dutch publications was much stricter (I believe). There are two old reference
books:

1. Georgi. Allgemeines europaeisches Buecher-Lexicon.
2. Naamregister van de bekendste en meest in gebruik zynde Nederduitsche
boeken : Welke federt hetjaar 1600 tot hetjaar 1761 zyn uitgekomen... /
Hrsg. von Reinier Arrenberg. Rotterdam: Arrenberg, 1788.

All the best,

Eugene Beshenkovsky



Subject: ACADEMY: Help with some 16th century German verses
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: 9 Jan 2005

Dear Adam,

Here's a preliminary translation of the verses from Schaffner's magnificent table
it's literal rather than poetic, though I would be interested to hear people's criticisms
and reflections upon it. Of particular interest is the slightly odd correlation of arts,
planets and virtues to metals, which would - prima face - appear thus:

Grammar/Sun/Hope - gold
Rhetoric/Moon/Faith - silver
Arithmetic/Mars/Fortitude - copper
Logic/Mercury/Charity - quicksilver
Geometry/Jupiter/Justice - tin
Music/Venus/Temperance - lead
Astronomy/Saturn/Prudence - iron.

Nevertheless, the relation may be more complex than it first appears; for example,
the reference to copper in the verse on Mars seems to reflect Mars' amorous relation
to Venus, whilst it is said in the verse on Venus that black lead 'gives' Venus to us.
That Saturn does indeed wear iron spurs is demonstrated by the spurs depicted under
Saturn on the table - a reference to the omnipresence of disease and death, perhaps,
which keeps us 'kicking against the pricks', as it were. All-in-all I would say the
verses demonstrate a slightly naive though charming late medieval mindset, though it
is also very possible that I have missed some of its subtleties. There's certainly a lot of
things there which are waiting to be explained. Anyway, to the text:

Ptolemy

Everyone note with diligence hereby
Seven colours and liberal arts
Seven signs and metals
In the week seven days in all
Seven virtues that are good
Woe to those who idly waste their time.

Sol

The victor clothes himself in yellow
Grammar governs all the arts
The sun is the light of the seven signs
Because of gold some often break the day of rest [Sunday]
He who well understands true virtue
Has reason for good Hope.

Luna

White is a colour pure without stain
Rhetoric speaks only daintily
The moon always multiplies silver
Monday is rightly its sign
No-one strives to know everything
As Faith is the resolution of all things.

Mars

The red colour is very passionate in love
Arithmetic makes the additions
As to how much copper Mars has found
This happened on a Tuesday
Fortitude overcomes all ill fortune
She alone strives for God and honour.

Mercury

Grey might stand for Logic
When she helps herself here and there
And weaves about like quicksilver does
Mercury bespeaks Wednesday
In truth it is well said
That Charity wears the crown of virtue.

Jupiter

Blue is a colour which remains true
Geometry teaches the art of measuring
Jupiter rejoices in Thursday
On tin one is accustomed to serve food
When I consider it from every angle
Justice is the final haven.

Venus

The green colour of May brings much joy
Which Music always strives for
She is consecrated to Friday forever
The black lead gives us Venus
Much was achieved with Temperance
When goodwill was also kept in mind.

Saturn

Black is fitting for those who suffer
Astronomy wanders through the stars
Therefore he presides over Saturday
Saturn wears an iron spur
He who wishes good fortune
Requires Prudence.



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 9 Jan 2005

Dear Eugene,

Thank you for your reply.

> The Leiden 1708 edition says that the tract was " in Niederlandisch
> geschrieben".

Yes, the same is stated by the 1608 edition.

> It does not say that it was published in Dutch. The censorship of the original
> Dutch publications was much stricter (I believe).

The "informal references" to the original edition which I mentioned
were in Harris's _The Two Netherlanders_ (one of the two being Drebbel)
p. 135-137 and on the website of Bib. Phil Hermetica:
http://www.ritmanlibrary.nl/c/p/pub/on_pub/pat/pat_man_C.html
in the comments to item 12.

On the other hand, such serious references as _Dictionary of
Scientific Biography_ give the Leiden 1608 edition as the first
(even though Harris is listed in the bibliography there).

Best regards,

Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Help with some 16th century German verses
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: 10 Jan 2005

Adam,
Thank you for posting this wonderful image.

Can you tell us where the table itself is?

Regards to the Academy,
Eve Sinaiko



Subject: ACADEMY: Help with some 16th century German verses
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10 Jan 2005

The Martin Schaffner painting in the form of an allegorical table of the planets,
the liberal arts and the virtues, is in Kassel, in the Staatliche Museen.
It was made for the Strassburger goldsmith Erasmus Stedelin in 1533.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Transmutation
From: Adam McLean
Date: 11 Jan 2005

Today I found this interesting web site, which gives exact details of
how to transmute mercury into gold !

http://www.lowenergytransmutations.org/iccf9.htm

It is fascinating to me as it shows how this myth persists into the
present day, and how serious intelligent people can so easily
deceive themselves if they are enthused by some preconceptions.

The people performing this experiment were fringe scientists who
seem to be promoting the idea of low energy transmutations, as in
the 'cold fusion' experiments of a decade ago, which now seem to be
entirely discredited.

These scientists claim "100g of Mercury treated with the mixture
of vinegar and Acetic Acid (sic), gave 88mg of Gold" and document
it with a full description of their process on their web site.

The sad thing is that they used scrap mercury from electrical
switches, rather than chemically pure mercury. These switches
and the other electronic components associated with them
on circuit boards often have gold contacts and gold readily
amalgamates. So is it surprising that their mercury contained these
trace amounts of gold ? They do not seem to have made an analysis
of the mercury samples before their "experiment", which is
the first thing a sensible experimental scientist would have done.
Neither did they run a control experiment with chemically pure
mercury with a known amount of gold.

This reminds me of the famous transmutation performed by
Thurneisser in the late 16th century, using gold powder hidden
in a stirring rod. It is also a variation on the way of making gold
reported in Fulcanelli's 'Les demeures'.

It is quite amusing how people can so easily deceive themselves
and others. Still perhaps it serves to keep people interested in
alchemy, but maybe for reasons different from those which
we pursue in this discussion group.

These "scientists" seem to be so stupid when they say in their
documentation "When analyzed with SEM (Electron Microscope)
it will show only Gold". Those who know anything about
scanning electron microscopes, realise that the technique
involves coating the microscopy samples with a thin layer
of gold - this is called sputtering the sample. Also a scanning electron
microscope is not an analytical device but one for examining
the surface of a sample in three dimensions.

I just provide this information as a bit of amusing light relief
for the academy, rather than trying to start a discussion on the
merits or validity of various transmutation stories.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: James M. Bradburne
Date: 11 Jan 2005

Dear Rafal,

We have not been introduced, but I am currently researching the
life of Cornelis Drebbel. I recently chatted to Pamela Smith about
the question of the 1604 edition of the 4 Elements (and the
Quintessence for that matter) and would like to add the following remarks:

>It does not say that it was published in Dutch. The censorship of
>the original Dutch publications was much stricter (I believe).

Holland was in fact known for its relatively relaxed approach to
censorship at this time, but there were one or two notable exceptions
regarding Anabaptism and other suspect sects.

>The "informal references" to the original edition which I mentioned
>were in Harris's _The Two Netherlanders_ (one of the two being Drebbel)
>p. 135-137 and on the website of Bib. Phil Hermetica:

Harris presumably is referring the the reference in Jaeger (1922), from
which he derives much of his information. Jaeger writes that he read a
reference to the 1604 edition of the 4 Elements in a French author of
the 1860s, but had never had the book under his eyes himself.

>On the other hand, such serious references as _Dictionary of
>Scientific Biography_ give the Leiden 1608 edition as the first
>(even though Harris is listed in the bibliography there).

I will be at the Herzog August Library in two weeks and will see if
Drebbels book appeared at either the Leipzig or Frankfurt Book Fairs,
and if so, when. I will get back to you if I discover anything of interest.

All best regards,

Dr. James M. Bradburne
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Education, London



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 13 Jan 2005

Dear James,

Thank you very much for your most interesting comments.

> Harris presumably is referring the the reference in Jaeger (1922), from
> which he derives much of his information. Jaeger writes that he read a
> reference to the 1604 edition of the 4 Elements in a French author of
> the 1860s, but had never had the book under his eyes himself.

Yes, and Triere apparently had not seen it, either. But Burckhardt,
who must be the French author you mention, says he had seen it
and that it had an engraved portrait (the information comes from
Partington).

> I will be at the Herzog August Library in two weeks and will see if
> Drebbels book appeared at either the Leipzig or Frankfurt Book Fairs,
> and if so, when. I will get back to you if I discover anything of interest.

I shall be obliged. Perhaps another source worth checking would
be the new alchemical bibliography by Bruning to which I have
no access, unfortunately.

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Adam Mclean
Date: 17 Jan 2005

I wonder what was the origin of the famous idea that alchemy is
woman's work and children's play. Of course it appears most famously
in the 'Splendor Solis' where it is delightfully depicted in two of the
emblems, but it predated its appearance here.

Has anyone found this in a work from the 15th century or earlier ?

Perhaps it is an adaptation of some phrase from a proverb or some
literary source.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 17 Jan 2005

This topos appears for the first time in _Turba philosophorum_
(Sixteenth Dictum) - so its literary or proverbial source
must be Arabic or Classical.

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Elizabeth O'Mahoney
Date: 17 Jan 2005

I am currently researching a chapter on the female worker in C17th
Netherlandish genre paintings of the chymical workshop. Although
the chapter will be based more on "art history" rather than alchemical
philosophy I will certainly let you know if I come across anything
interesting in that line.

Best wishes
Elizabeth O'Mahoney



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 17 Jan 2005

Dear Adam,

These stages of the work refer not to the whole of alchemy -as it
is often stated - but to precise stages in the last part of the great work.
The opus mulierum means that must imitate the washerwomen and wash
i.e. Whiten. While the ludus puerorum refers to a particularly easy stage
compared to child's play.
In both cases there are early anonymous treatises of origin bearing those
titles.

I will provide more information as to what those are and when they were
published when I get a chance to open the relevant files at present horribly
disorganized due to construction work in California.

At our castle of Montecalvello, in Italy, the ludi puerorum theme has an
entire room adorned with 15th century frescoes devoted to this theme.

All the very best always,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 17 Jan 2005

Dear Stanislas,

> In both cases there are early anonymous treatises of origin bearing
> those titles.

You certainly refer to _Tractatus Opus Mulierum sive Ludus
Puerorum dictus_ (first published in _De alchimia opuscula_,
fol. 135-152). It quotes Albertus Magnus, Arnald of Villanova,
Thomas Aquinas etc., so it dates probably from the 14th c.
Although it does not seem to quote _Turba philosophorum_
directly, it must have taken the topos from it or from
a source influenced by it.

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Le Tableau des riches inventions - 1600 or 1610?
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18 Jan 2005

I have a question on the dating of

Beroalde de Verville's Le Tableau des riches inventions couvertes du
voile des feintes amoureuses, qui sont representees dans le Songe de
Poliphile. Desvoiles des ombres du Songe, & subtilement exposees
par Beroalde.
Paris: Ches Matthieu Guillemot 1600.

Although the date '1600' appears on the engraved title page, this
has been questioned by some scholars. Some bibliographers prefer
to date it to 1610.

I have just noticed that the engraved title page to

Giambattista della PORTA.
De distillatione lib. IX.
Rome 1608.

has some elements which could be seen to parallel that on
the engraved titlepage of 'Le Tableau des riches inventions'.
For example, the form of the cornucopia and a triple fountain.

So it interests me as to which came first.

Does anyone have a clear view on the dating of 'Le Tableau' to
1600 or 1610 ?

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Alfredo Felix-Diaz
Date: 18 Jan 2005

Dear Academy,

It would be interesting to note if the mentions in alchemical treaties
to the "womanish" theme make a reference to Herakles and Achilles both
having disguised themselves as women at some point in their heroic
carriers. It is, indeed, indispensable for the Work.

Best regards,
Alfredo Félix-Díaz



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: 19 Jan 2005

Alfredo, can you elaborate on this?

Do you mean that gender-switching or gender-disguise is an
indispensable step in the Work, or that the assumption of
characteristics or appearances belonging to the other gender
is a key to the Work?

I am interested in elements of gender ambiguity or gender-crossing
in the symbolism of alchemy.

Thank you!
Regards to the Academy,
Eve Sinaiko



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Michael Martin
Date: 19 Jan 2005

I think you might find a reference in Romeo and Juliet interesting,
as the play is rife with alchemical allusions. The line is

"O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate"

(3.1.115-16).

This is a small allusion, but when one sees it alongside the many,
many alchemical references in the play, one can see how very
familar Shakespeare was with alchemy.

Regards,
Michael Martin



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Alfredo Felix-Diaz
Date: 20 Jan 2005

Dear Eve,

In the period of most alchemical texts men and women's roles
were extremely defined, so what was thought of effeminate then is
probably not seen thus today. For example "getting your hands dirty
in the kitchen..." or washing clothes, as was pointed by Mr. Klossowski.
As I see it, "kitchenlike work" is indispensable for the Work, and also
learning how to conect even intuitively with the Prima Materia's whims
and volatile nature, so as to capture it. Cross-dressing, of course,
would be poetic license for these attitudes and actions.

Best Regards,

Alfredo

Ps. Michael, great quote from Romeo... Thanks!



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Francesca Beconcini
Date: 20 Jan 2005

Fulcanelli (Il Mistero delle Cattedrali) says:

"Carried out Herakles strenous labour, his work (the alchemist's one)
is only child's play, that is watching the fire, a work which can be
done even by a spinning woman and done well."

Regards
Francesca



Subject: ACADEMY: Frères Chevaliers d'Héliopolis
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 21 Jan 2005

Working recently on the foreword to my translation of Julius Evola's
"La Tradizione Ermetica", I found out that one of his close friends, Pierre
Pascal, was also a friend of a very interesting person, some Noël de
la Houssaye, the author of "Apparition d'Arsinoë"; I must tell, this
autobiographical novel of his is interesting in every respect.

My question is: who could be that "alchimiste de Sarcelles, Frère
Chevalier d'Héliopolis" mentioned in this book?

Canseliet was born in Sarcelles. Besides, there he met with
some Gaston Sauvage. If it was one of them, then who was that person
he was going to meet in Cairo, where Nöel followed him (de-facto,
not just in the novel) and where did he tragically die?

I suppose, Stanislas may know the answer, since he knew Canseliet
personally... Any hint would be highly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Gleb Butuzov.



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Janet Muff
Date: 21 Jan 2005

I'd like to introduce a distinction into discussion of "women's work" and
alchemy, namely the distinction between the feminine principle, Luna,
which is central to the alchemical work (as an aspect of the Sol-Luna,
masculine-feminine dyad) and the activities of a female alchemist,
who would be working with both principles, masculine and feminine.
When I consider the idea of "women's work" in the alchemical context,
it seems to me that it may pertain to either of the above or to both.

All the best,

Janet Muff



Subject: ACADEMY: Le Tableau des riches inventions - 1600 or 1610?
From: Claude Gagnon
Date: 22 Jan 2005

Dear Adam,

If I look at the recent colloquium on Béroalde (Paris, published by Presses de
l'École Normale Supérieure, 1996), the Bibliography states that Béroalde
published "his" translation of the Hypnerotomachia at Guillemot Prints in 1600.
No doubt is evocated on that topic.
May I ask who tells that it was published in 1610.

Best regards,

Claude Gagnon



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 23 Jan 2005

Dear Janet,

I strongly believe that the term "women's work" has nothing
to do with gender as such, this expression is only suggested to show

1) the "easiness" of this stage of the Opus in comparison with
Hercules' effort of the First Work, and

2) some symbolic similarity to the work of a laundress, boiling her
linen "to whiten it".

Sincerely,

Gleb Butuzov



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Mike Dickman
Date: 23 Jan 2005

"Easy", perhaps, but none the less somewhat "laborious"... Cf., e.g.,
Le Livre des Laveures by 'Nicolas Flamel' (whoever he, she, it or they
might have been).

As far as I have understood it (if 'far' is a word you can even use
with an understanding such as mine), 'women's work' has to do with the
laborious and endlessly repetetive work of cleansing, purification
going back over things, doing them again and again, and with the
"cooking up" and transforming of the materia at this stage, and
'child's play' with the growing ease in and familiarity and exercise
with the abovementioned 'Labours of Hercules'...

Stanislas (and many others, I'm sure) will certainly know more than
I do on the subject, but it has certainly never seemed to me that any
part of the work is 'easier' to actually DO than any other.

Mike Dickman



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Maria Paola Scialdone
Date: 23 Jan 2005

Even though it just refers to a particular stage in the opus which
is similar (easy or not is not the matter here, I suppose) to women's
work (washing, cooking, controlling the fire and so on), I think it has
a gendered undertone just only for the fact that it takes for granted
that women (and not men) do that job. So, even if it is only a similarity
to make the opus more comprehensible and clear, I feel it is "semiotically"
gendered at the root because of the patriarchal order it displays.

Don't you agree with me?

Maria Paola Scialdone



Subject: ACADEMY: Le Tableau des riches inventions - 1600 or 1610?
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 23 Jan 2005

Dear Adam,

As you know I have at hand an original copy of this work and it was
indeed published in 1600. It is 'Le Voyage des Princes Fortunez'
that Beroalde published in 1610.

The alleged doubt about this is surprising but then again despite
my publishing conclusive proof that Michael Maier's 'Arcana arcanissima'
was published at London in 1614, the old erroneous assertion that it
was published at Oppenheim still survives despite its impossibly
implausible nature.

All the very best,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola



Subject: ACADEMY: Le Tableau des riches inventions - 1600 or 1610?
From: Adam McLean
Date: 23 Jan 2005

I think the problem with the dating of 'Le Tableau des riches inventions'
arose from various library catalogues of this book which show the date as

1600 [1610]

Now the book itself has the well known engraving as its titlepage
and this has clearly engraved on it the date '1600'.

Subsequent editions of the book continued to use this titlepage
engraving, so bibliographers had to use the [1610] to indicate
that what they had before them was a later edition. Normally a
book would have a printed title page and this, of course, would
be changed on a subsequent edition. The 'Privilege of the King'
which supplies the other dating for this work would not be changed
with the subsequent editions.

I think that explains the dual dates in some bibliographies.

Anyway it clears up my main reason for asking this and I can now
with some degree of confidence say that the engraved title page to
Giambattista della Porta 'De distillatione lib. IX.', 1608
copied some of its emblematic content from the Beroalde
title page engraving and not the other way round.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Verginelli-Rota collection
From: Peter Grund
Date: 24 Jan 2005

Dear All,
In September of 2004, Samten de Wet reported on the Verginelli-Rota
collection of alchemical books and manuscripts. According to the email,
many of these manuscripts had been donated to the Accademia Nazionale
dei Lincei (Rome, Italy). I have tried to contact the Accademia to get
more information on and copies of some of the Verginelli-Rota manuscripts,
but I have failed to receive an answer. Has anyone else been in contact
with the Accademia about these manuscripts? If so, could you let me
know if there is a specific person at the Accademia that I could contact.

Thanks for your help.
All the best,
Peter Grund



Subject: ACADEMY: Verginelli-Rota collection
From: Maria Paola Scialdone
Date: 24 Jan 2005

Dear Mr. Grund,

I have not contacted the Lincei for those manuscripts but for
some other bibliographical reasons I had a very helpful contact
with Mr. Guardo one year ago (I don't know if he is a librarian or
a Director but he can probably help you as well).

So, here it is:

Dr. Guardo (guardo@lincei.it)
tel. 0039-(0)6-6861983

I hope it helps!

all the best,
Maria Paola Scialdone



Subject: ACADEMY: Frères Chevaliers d'Héliopolis
From: Joël Tetard
Date: 24 Jan 2005

Dear Gleb,

As far as I know, M. Canseliet was the "only one Frere Chevalier
d'Heliopolis". He was actually born the 18th of December 1899 at
Sarcelles, a small rural village located in the northern suburb of
Paris which became an ugly "sleeping town" during the 60's and
70"s. According to M. Canseliet, Fulcanelli gave him this honorific
title and asked him to add the lettres F.C.H. to his name for signing
every important work regarding Alchemy.

This is a short quote from "Le Feu du Soleil", written by Robert
Amadou in 1978 (ISBN 2.72002.0088.3), which gives some information :

Robert Amadou : "- Que signifient les lettres "F.C.H." ?"
Eugène Canseliet : - "Frere chevalier d'Heliopolis. [...] C'est
Fulcanelli qui m'a dit "Il faut signer ainsi, vous êtes chevalier
d'Heliopolis". C'est tout, mais je ne suis rien, moi."
R.A. - "Il ne s'agit donc pas nécessairement d'une société ?"
E.C. - "Je crois que c'est le consensus des adeptes, de ceux qui
ont réussi, les vrais Rose-Croix".
R.A. - "Mais vous même, vous avez reçu le titre avant d'voir réussi ?"
E.C. - "A oui ! Je me raplle. J'avais terminé la préface du Mystère
des Cathédrales quand Fulcanelli me l'a donné. [...]"

I am very interested by the information given by Noël de la Houssaye !
I'll try to find this book. The reference to Cairo seems to me linked
to the mysterious "viel ami d'outre-mer" ("old fellow living overseas")
whom Canselier wrote during many years (see "Alchimie expliquée sur
ses textes classiques"). My feeling is this friend was René Schwaller
de Lubicz who lived in Egypt from 1938 to 1952. According to
Genevieve Dubois in "Fulcanelli dévoilé", Eugène Canseliet wrote a
letter to R. Schwaller de Lubicz in 1933 and we can imagine the starting
point of a long relationship.

I note (but I'll be very cautious about making any conclusion...) that the return
of de Lubicz in France occured the same year Eugene Canseliet
again met Fulcanelli.

Regards.

Joël Tetard



Subject: ACADEMY: Frères Chevaliers d'Héliopolis
From: Daniel Burnham
Date: 25 Jan 2005

The biographies of Rene Schwaller (Al-Kemi by Vandenbroeck, and
Aor: Sa Vie, Son Oeuvre by Isha Schwaller) are of course relevant to
the above statements. I would think that a detailed study of both the
work of Rene Schwaller and his biographies would remove any
need for caution regarding conclusions of a Fulcanelli connection.

Cheers,

Daniel Burnham



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Liz O'Mahoney
Date: 25 Jan 2005

Hi Adam,

With regard to your original "women's work" query, in her PhD thesis,
'Women and Alchemy in Early Modern England', Jayne Archer writes:

The fourteenth-century 'Opus Mulierum et Ludus Puerorum', in which
various stages of the alchemical opus are compared to "women's work"
and "child's play", was first published in 'De Alchimia Opuscula
Complura Veterum Philosophorum' (Frankfurt, 1550).

She continues to write about echoes of "child's play" quoting from "the
fifteenth-century treatise 'Gloria Mundi' (1526)". These extracts form
part of a section entitled "Women's Work" in a chapter called
"The Opus Mulierum: The Housewife As Alchemist" and is very
interesting.

Other secondary references (which I'm sure you know - seeing as you
feature so frequently in the acknowledments!) include:

"Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery" Lyndy Abraham 219;
'The Domestic Alchemist', M.E. Warlick, Emblems and Alchemy
ed. Alison Adams and Stanton J. Linden;
M.E. Warlick 'Moon Sisters: Women and Alchemical Imagery' in
"The Golden Egg: Alchemy in Art and Literature";
Gillian Beer, " 'Square Rounds' and other awkward Fits: Chemistry
as Theatre" Ambix 41.1 (March 1994):33-41;
Lennep on Mutus Liber 230-244

This is all I can offer at the moment. I have written a draft chapter for
my thesis on female occupations (seamstress, cook and teacher) in
seveteenth century genre paintings of the chymical workshop, but it
wouldn't be very relevant here - and I'm afraid that the final chapter
on women workers is very much at the beginning stages.

All the best

Liz O'Mahoney

P.S. I'm sure M.E. Warlick would know a lot about this - much
more than me anyway! Liz



Subject: ACADEMY: Frères Chevaliers d'Héliopolis
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 25 Jan 2005

Dear Joël,

Thank you very much for your answer. Actually, you've said what I
suspected, but I needed a proof that I did not miss some point in this.

De la Houssaye speaks about some "viel ami d'outre-mer" sans aucun
doute; to see this "friend" was main purpose of his trip to Egypt. The
book itself describes an invocation of Arsinoë II based on her image
on the golden octodrachm (the one with inscription "arsinoes philadelphoy"
and two cornucopias on the back), that was gifted to the author by
"alchimiste de Sarcelles" after "alchemical purification" of the metal
it was made of. The coin itself had got to France with the help of that
mysterious "ami d'outre-mer", of course.

The book is somewhat difficult to find, but I bought it online from
some bookseller in France. If necessary, I can scan relevant pages
and send to you.

My very best wishes,

Gleb



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Maria Paola Scialdone
Date: 25 Jan 2005

Dear academy,

If you can read German you could have a look at:

G.F. Hartlaub, Arcana Artis (Spuren alchemistischer Symbolik in der
Kunst des XVI. Jahrhunderts), in "Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte",
1937 b6, n. 4, pp. 289-324.

In Calvesi's study about alchemical patterns in Durer's Melancholia II
there is found a reference to the second and the fifth paragraph of this
important essay where the author discusses at a certain length the
"ludus puerorum" and the "opus mulierum".

All the best,
Maria Paola Scialdone



Subject: ACADEMY: Frères Chevaliers d'Héliopolis
From: Aaron Cheak
Date: 26 Jan 2005

I will take this as a fitting cue for an introduction. I am presently
in the beginning stages of a PhD dissertation in which a detailed study
of the life and work of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (and the Fulcanelli
Mystery) plays a significant part. I won't answer anything definitively
now, as I will not have a chance to examine the chief French sources
until later this year (notably the material published at Suhalia, St. Moritz,
Isha's biography, and material pertaining to Fulcanelli). Suffice it to note
that, as far as the VandenBroeck memoir is concerned, Fulcanelli is s
poken of ambiguously: both in an individual and in a collective sense.

Aaron Cheak



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 26 Jan 2005

Dear Maria,

> I feel it is "semiotically" gendered at the root because of the patriarchal order
>it displays. Don't you agree with me?

Well, I would rather agree with this. However, if you find necessary to
descend to the sociological level, why not ascend to the mythological one?

There's such a thing as feminine crafts initiation, for instance (see
M.Eliade, "Images et Symboles: Essais sur le symbolisme magico-religieux",
p.120ff).

Best regards,

Gleb



Subject: ACADEMY: Guilds and Alchemists
From: Elizabeth O'Mahoney
Date: 26 Jan 2005

Does anyone know whether alchemists could belong to guilds in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries or indeed whether they had their
own guilds? I understand the ambiguous staus of the alchemist in
the early modern period, but I'm just wondering how the journeymen
and appretices evidenced in Netherlandish genre painting were
regulated.

Best wishes
Liz O'Mahoney



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson
Date: 27 Jan 2005

The line of thought -
sociology as descent. Is it the prima materia there?

The questions are about gender terms invoking a hierarchy, and value.

Thank you,
Catherine



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: James M Bradburne
Date: 27 Jan 2005

I just returned from the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuettel
and can report with some certainty that no Dutch edition of Drebbel's
On the Nature of the 4 Elements appears in either the Frankfurt or
Leipzig book fair catalogues 1603-1608. This does not prove that a
1604 edition did not exist (few foreign language books were sold at
the fairs, the majority being in Latin, and secondarily German), but
only that if it were sold, it was probably sold locally to the
Dutch-speaking market. I still tend to think that there was a Dutch
version written before Drebbel left for England in 1604/5 (from
which the 1608 version was translated into 'Hoch Teutsch), although
it may have only circulated in manuscript form.

An interesting bibliographical note from today's visit: Drebbel's 4
Elements did appear for sale at the 1608 Frankfurt and Leipzig
Michaelis (Fall) Messe, distributed by Cornelius Nicolai of Amsterdam,
with no mention of the publisher Henrich von Haesten (which appears
on the title page of the 1608 edition) or Leiden (which Jaeger and
others cite as the origin, although the title page only reads 'Gedruckt
zu senden in Hollandt').

James M Bradburne



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 28 Jan 2005

Dear Catherine,

> The line of thought - sociology as descent.
> Is it the prima materia there?

Well, Prima Materia is definitely not there. Materia Prima as a
pure substantiality and the bottom of the hierarchy - probably yes.

> The questions are about gender terms invoking a hierarchy, and value.

To my mind, there exist specifically gender-tinted terms and general
technical terms that may have a gender (because it is difficult not to
have one).

Besides, when someone automatically places the symbol of a woman
making laundry into "patriarchal order" context, she/he should know
at least one example of a matriarchal order where making laundry
represented typically masculine work, otherwise former statement
explains nothing.

Thank you and best regards,

Gleb



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 28 Jan 2005

Dear Academy,

The questions on this thread appear to drift more and more toward some
sort of feminist point of view of history far removed from the concerns of
the great work.

If gender does indeed play a capital role therein as does incest, androgyny
and domination by one or the other sex it is because the descriptions and
depictions of its operations and protagonists are based on precise analogies
and utilize an extraordinarily eloquent symbolism which is meant to convey
specific information.

I have always objected to the language of the wise being reduced to
psychological drivel unless all its true implications are first elucidated in
the proper manner. Those true implications can be discovered if one accepts
to study these things within their proper context to seek what their authors
sought to convey and why they chose to express themselves in that way.

Alchemy has fascinating applications but its principles must be first be
comprehended.

All the very best,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola



Subject: ACADEMY: Alchemy and the seven liberal arts
From: Michael Martin
Date: 28 Jan 2005

Dear Friends,

It is just now that I read Hereward's translation from Schaffner on
alchemy and the seven liberal arts. As a teacher of rhetoric, of course,
I am very interested in this subject. Thank you, Hereward (and, I
believe, your wife) for making this available.

I thought some of you might be further interested in recalling Thomas
Norton's admonition to the alchemist: "Conjoyne your Elements
Grammatically" -- found in the Ordinall (in Theatrum Chemicum
Britannicum, p. 52).

All the best,

Michael



Subject: ACADEMY: Ovid and Alchemy
From: Clare Brown
Date: 28 Jan 2005

I am currently researching my MA dissertation and I wonder if you
can advise on something and/or give pointers to further sources.

I have read - or at least seen snippets - that suggest that Ovid's
Metamorphoses were interpreted alchemistically in the Renaissance.

I understand that it was the alchemist Petrus Bonus who claimed
that Ovid dealt 'esoterically with the philosophers' stone'. The other
person that seems key is Michael Maier. Therefore would you able
to help point me in the direction of documents that Ovid was mentioned?

I have mananged to track down one reference but not yet actually found
the book (unaccountably not on the shelf at the Warburg) - Once I find
it I think this may answer all my queries but if anyone has any thoughts
on this in the mean time, they would be gratefully received.

Kühlmann, Wilhelm. Sinnbilder der Transmutationskunst: Einblicke in
die mythoalchemische Ovidrezeption von Petrus Bonus bis Michael
Maier. In Metamorphosen: Wandlungen und Verwandlungen in Literatur,
Sprache und Kunst von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, Festschrift für
Bodo Guthmüller zum 65. Geburtstag. Wiesbaden 2002, 163-176.

Many thanks
Clare Brown
MA Renaissance Studies
Birkbeck College



Subject: ACADEMY: Ovid and Alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: 28 Jan 2005

Dear Clare,

Adam posted recently the Palombara "La Bugia" suite of pictures
as published by Mino Gabriele. One of the images is the old King
holding the skin of probably Ovid's Marsyas, who lost in the
singing contest with Apollo, after having won against Minerva.
Apollo is seen in the background with Marsyas flayed body.
Guercino also painted the flaying of Marsyas with the shepherds
of Arcadia in the background. The taking away of an outer coating
is a central theme of alchemy.

Regards,
Susanna Akerman



Subject: ACADEMY: Ovid and Alchemy
From: Alfredo Félix-Díaz
Date: 30 Jan 2005

Dear Clare,

You might find Mary Barnard's "The Myth of Apollo and Daphne
from Ovid to Quevedo: Love, Agon, and the Grotesque" useful.
My copy is from Duke U P 1987. Though it's not about alchemy it
does treat the christianization of Ovid in Middle Ages, and then
Garcilaso's, Petrach's and Quevedo's borrowing of the myth. You may
find a relation to alchemy in them. You could also check Góngora's
retelling of Ovid's treatment of Polyphemus and Galatea. And Golding's
translation of the Metamorphoses, which Shakespeare used so often.

All the best,
Alfredo Félix-Díaz



Subject: ACADEMY: Women's work and child's play
From: Maria Paola Scialdone
Date: 30 Jan 2005

Dear Academy,

I find this discussion very stimulating. Anyway I just want to underline
that my aim was not to discuss about Alchemy only in

> some sort of feminist point of view of history (!!!)

As far as I understand it, Alchemy has so many different dimensions
(philosophical, religious, historical, psychological, social and so forth),
which are all valid, worth and interesting to be discussed and researched
and the one does not exclude the other.

I just wanted to point out that when we speak about "gendered
representations" in alchemy, it can be interesting to analyze how
women are represented in alchemy (or how they do represent
themselves) or how women alchemists practice, but it can be also
interesting and necessary to reflect on what kind of "hierarchy and value",
just to quote one of the last mails on this topic (sorry, I do not remember
the name of the writer at the moment), is displayed in the Opus. Just
only for the fact that considering "hierarchy and value" is one of key-tool
of gender studies.

I do not think that somebody could deny that women were segregated for
centuries in the kitchen or in the laundry (=home!) by a patriarchal social
and cultural order (and I do not think I really need to find an example of
men's laundry-work somewhere to proof this truth and to have the right
to tell it).

I never wanted to state that Alchemy is a patriarchal construct for itself,
but I think it is not false or aberrant to say that in the depiction of this
precise stages of the Great Work we are talking about (probably not always,
probably in a specific time and historical or social context, I don't
know... it could be interesting to see if there are different descriptions
of those stages in the Opus!), Alchemy reflects some well-known
patriarchal principles, at least of Western culture.

On the other way round, if we want to speak about Alchemy and feminist
thought, we should remember that some contemporary feminist writers find
in alchemy lots of "feminist" aspects (Weil, Bonardel!), just to put it
differently.

The last point I want to make (pardon this long message and my English!):
"Gender sensible", as Eva Kormann calls it in her last book ("Ich
Welt und Gott. Autobiographik im 17. Jahrhundert" [2004]), does not
mean "feminist", and should never be forgotten because the other possibility
is "gender blind". "Neutral" does not really exist, according to her, and I
totally agree with her.

All the best!
Maria Paola Scialdone



Subject: ACADEMY: Netherlandish genre paintings of alchemist's laboratories
From: Adam McLean
Date: 30 Jan 2005

Elizabeth O'Mahoney wrote :

>I am currently researching a chapter on the female worker in C17th
>Netherlandish genre paintings of the chymical workshop.

Can I ask if you have been able to make an exhaustive listing
of these Netherlandish genre paintings ?

As far as I understand no one has yet published a listing of
these interesting, tightly integrated, series of paintings.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Newton alchemical manuscripts sold
From: Adam McLean
Date: 30 Jan 2005

I just found out that some of Isaac Newton's alchemical manuscripts
were sold at Sotheby's in New York on December 3rd, 2004 (auction
N08065).

Some details of these can be seen online at

http://www.americanaexchange.com/NewAE/auction/auctiondetail.asp?m=12&aid=763



Subject: ACADEMY: Netherlandish genre paintings of alchemist's laboratories
From: Liz O'Mahoney
Date: 30 Jan 2005

Hi Adam,

No, I haven't yet made a listing of C17th Netherlandish genre paintings
of the chymical workshop. I am reluctant to do so yet, because some
cataloguing information has, for some unknown reason, been given in
confidence. However, once my thesis is completed and much of this
information is openly published I see no reason not to create a more
comprehensive listing - I think it could only benefit further research
into the area.

Once my thesis is finished I will certainly start getting together a
list for you, however as my research is limited in focus, I would only
have details for about 150 or so - far from exhaustive! Mind you,
that would be a good foundation to which others could later contribute.
Hope this is of interest.

Best wishes,

Liz O'Mahoney



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 30 Jan 2005

Dear James,

Thank you very much for the information on the results of
your research in Wolfenbuettel. Those book fair catalogues
seem to be a fantastic resource for bibliography (I had
not known about them).

> I still tend to think that there was a Dutch
> version written before Drebbel left for England in 1604/5 (from
> which the 1608 version was translated into 'Hoch Teutsch), although
> it may have only circulated in manuscript form.

So it may be safe to assume that it was written in or before 1604
and may or may not have been published in print in that year.

Best regards,

Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Cornelis Drebbel
From: James M Bradburne
Date: 30 Jan 2005

Dear Rafal,

> Those book fair catalogues seem to be a fantastic resource
>for bibliography (I had not known about them).

They really are marvellous, and reading several years in a row gives
one a wonderful feel for what kinds of material was appearing in print
at what time and in what languages.

> So it may be safe to assume that it was written in or before 1604
> and may or may not have been published in print in that year.

So far we have no solid evidence that it was written much before it
first appeared in German in 1608, however if it were published
earlier, it would have been sold locally, in Dutch. More likely is
that it existed as a manuscript. I am interested in what would happen
to our understanding of Drebbel if we assumed that the 4 Elements
was written after his arrival in England (and after the 'Wondervondt'),
and his demonstration of the perpetuum mobile, in which Tymme tells
us a 'fierie spirit' was responsible for its action. There seems to be
quite a bit about Drebbel that may need rethinking.

All best,

James




Subject: ACADEMY: Call for papers - Western Esotericism Studies Group
From: Adam McLean
Date: 31 Jan 2005

The Western Esotericism Studies Group at the American Academy
of Religion invites proposals for papers dealing with European and
American esoteric traditions (alchemy, astrology, Hermeticism,
Kabbalah, magic, mysticism, Rosicrucianism, secret societies) and
their ramifications in art history, history, literature, politics, and
religion. For details see :

http://www.aarweb.org/annualmeet/2005/call/list-call.asp?PUNum=AARPU138



Subject: ACADEMY: La Bugia
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 31 Jan 2005

Adam,

Susanna's e-mail concerning a series of emblems allegedly drawn
from Massimiliano Palombara's manuscript of la Bugia which you
posted - surprised me because having studied this mss at length in
the Vatican library - and owning a custom facsimile of it made specifically
for me - I am all the more surprised to see an alleged series which does
not occur anywhere in this work. Indeed there is only one image in the
whole mss. That single image is on the title page and is of the hand holding
the candleholder. Could you please elucidate where those other images
came from?

Keep up the fabulous work
All the very best always
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola



Subject: ACADEMY: La Bugia
From: Adam McLean
Date: 31 Jan 2005

Dear Stanislas,

The 'La Bugia' exists in at least two manuscripts. The one you have
seen will be Reginense Lat. 1521 in the Vatican library. There is,
however, another copy of the work in a private collection. This was
published by Mino Gabrieli in his book -

Il giardino di Hermes. Massimiliano Palombara alchimista e
rosacroce nella Roma del Seicento. Con la prima edizione del
codice autografo della Bugia - 1656.
Editrice Ianua, Roma, 1986.

Here is a short description from Mino Gabrieli's introduction.

[Marchese Massimiliano Savelli Palombara], "La Bugia. Opera d'incerto
Autore nella quale si tratta della vera Pietra dei Sapienti. 1656".
Codice cartaceo, secolo XVII (1656), cm. 21x15; 2 cc. bianche,
89 cc. numerate modernamente, 4 cc. bianche; filigrana: colomba di
profilo su tre monti inscritta in un cerchio con la lettera 'N' sovrastante.
Legatura originale in pergamena con titolo in alto sul dorso, cerniera
del piatto anteriore parzialmente aperta. Autografo. Collezione privata.
Alle cc. 2v, 45v, 52r, 58v, 65v, 71v, 77r, 81v, 84r, 86r, si trovano
dieci disegni a penna, di pregevole fattura e quasi a piena pagina,
riguardanti le varie fasi del magistero' alchemico. Al contrario dello
scritto, i disegni, mancandoci elementi storico-critici su un'eventuale
attività artisti-co-figurativa del Palombara, non possono essere per ora
attribuiti alla sua mano. Alle cc. 88v e 89r e v. ci sono due sonetti
ermetici, uno di Massimiliano e l'altro di un suo amico sconosciuto,
il cui nome è celato nell'anagramma Lesbio Lintuatici.

Gabrieli sees the manuscript in the private collection as an autograph
of 1656, written earlier than the copy in the Vatican of 1660.

Best wishes,

Adam McLean