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May 2005
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Subject: ACADEMY: Maier's Arcana translated into French
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 1 May 2005

Michael Maier's Arcana arcanissima (1613) is to be published in French
in June, 2005. It seems to be the first translation recorded in this language.

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_maier.html

The translator is an allegedly pre-eminent Latinist, Stephane Feye.
The publisher is Belgian (editions Beya). ISBN given is 2-9600364-5-X.

Beya recently edited Mangin de Richenbourg's "bibliothèque des
philosophes chimiques".

http://users.belgacom.net/beya/livres.htm

Best regards,

Jean



Subject: ACADEMY: Hermann Stockinger's book
From: Leigh Penman
Date: 1 May 2005

Dear Rafal,
While Monica Neugebauer-Woelk's review of Stockinger's book is very
good, it does not deal specifically with the question of alchemy, nor how
well the topic of alchemy is treated in the work. The reviewer praises
the immensity of Stockinger's project, which is directed toward the
production of a multi-volumed 'Religionskritik der Aufklaerung',
however the main body of the review is concerned with a critical
examination of Stockinger's methodology in his analysis of the esoteric.
This is an interesting discussion in itself, particularly in relation to
Faivre and Hannegraf's recent methodological enumerations.

So, not much on alchemy, sorry. I can reply about more specific
elements if you wish.

On a different note, I have also investigated the question of alchemy
and philately according to the references you provided a couple of years ago.

Heilbronner, Edgar / Miller, Foil A.
A Philatelic Ramble through Chemistry
Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta, Zürich 1988

Amazon.com have a feature which alows you to examine the interior
pages of this publication for free at the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/3906390314/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-3805799-3381452#reader-link

Here you can search for particular words in the text as well, like
'Paracelsus', 'Geber', etc. Although you may only view several pages
at a sitting, if you are creative you can read the entire chapter on named
alchemists without too much trouble! The pictorial reproductions in this
work are excellent. The book even includes the reproduction of a
postage stamp that features a sculpture entitled 'Paracelsus', so it seems
quite complete! Especially interesting are the many stamps from Arabic
speaking nations.

van Albada, Gerard A.; Schreck, James O. Alchemy and philately
(STAMP). J. Chem. Educ. 1987 64 869.

This earlier article is a similar exercise but basically inferior (in terms
of a selection of stamps and reproductions thereof) to what is offered
in the Heilbronner book.

Best of luck, and happy collecting?

Leigh



Subject: ACADEMY: Origins of spagyric alchemy
From: Claude Gagnon
Date: 2 May 2005

Dear Adam,

A few months ago, I had to clear that specific question for an article that
I was writing. I have found all the information required in the book
written by Didier Kahn entitled

Didier Kahn, Alchimie et Paracelsisme en France à la fin de la
Renaissance,
Genève, Droz, (in the press). (originally announced to be out in 2004).

Unfortunately, the book seems not to be published yet but maybe it will
be in a few weeks or a few days. Last fall, Didier sent to me an electronic
copy of his third and his last proofs. So, if you go on the site of Droz you
may find that it has been issued. For myself, it is the most important
contribution on that topic since the book of Allen Debus.

Very best regards

Claude



Subject: ACADEMY: Hermann Stockinger's book
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 4 May 2005

Dear Leigh,

Thank you for the details of the review.

>critical examination of Stockinger's methodology in his analysis of
>the esoteric. This is an interesting discussion in itself,
>particularly in relation to Faivre and Hannegraf's recent
>methodological enumerations.

So it seems the review itself is a valuable addition
to the discussion on methodology?

>On a different note, I have also investigated the question of alchemy
>and philately according to the references you provided a couple of
>years ago.

>Amazon.com have a feature which alows you to examine the interior pages
>of this publication for free at the link:

Yes, I discovered it, too!

>Here you can search for particular words in the text as well, like 'Paracelsus',
>'Geber', etc. Although you may only view several pages at a sitting, if you
>are creative you can read the entire chapter on named alchemists without
>too much trouble!

Indeed! Very useful - but I've read some authors protest against it as it
is not covered by their contracts with publishers. But it seems Amazon
continues to scan and make available more and more books in this way.

>van Albada, Gerard A.; Schreck, James O. Alchemy and philately (STAMP).
>J. Chem. Educ. 1987 64 869.
> This earlier article ....snip... of stamps and reproductions thereof) to what
>is offered in the Heilbronner book. Best of luck, and happy collecting?

I do not collect stamps anymore - I used to when I was a boy
and still have them somewhere but I do not think I have
any of those alchemical stamps :-)

Best regards,

Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic letter G
From: Alfredo Felix-Diaz
Date: 20 May 2005

Dear Academy,

I'm researching the possible alchemical derivations of the masonic
letter G, and was wondering if any of our french speakers know what
"vulgar name of the subject of the wise (or sages)" which begins with
the letter G is Fulcanelli referring to in "Les demeures philosophales".

Maybe the name has to begin with G both in English and French? Or in Latin?
Any help well be greatly appreciated.

All the very best to all,

Alfredo Félix Díaz



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic letter G
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 21 May 2005

Dear Alfredo,
There is a web article, based on an article in "Transactions
of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge" (1963) - which is the leading
masonic history journal of sound scholarship:

http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/Writings/theletterG.html

There does not seem to be any obvious alchemical association.
The letter G originally stood for Geometry.

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic letter G
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 21 May 2005

Dear Alfredo,

I think that G is probably linked with galene ( lead). Otherwise the best source
seems to be Tschoudy ( L'étoile flamboyante).

Recipe G or recipe of the prima materia is also to be connected to a rare
book on this letter from a masonic point of view:

http://thot.graphos.free.fr/graphos/boutique/boutique_librairie.html


La Symbolique de la LETTRE G by Edouard de Ribaucourt.

This is a recent and limited reedition of a 1907 published work.

Regards,
Jean



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic letter G
From: Leigh Penman
Date: 21 May 2005

Dear Alfredo,

JSM Ward has written a (very) small book on the masonic letter 'G'.
I have not read it myself, but he might mention possible alchemical
elements there. I think it is still in print through Kessinger. It should
be easy to find 2nd hand, however. Ward was an interesting, if
excessively credulous, masonic historian. His other major work,
'Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods'links the letter G to ancient
forms of the swastika, specifically in relation to Sanskrit mythology.

Not much help, but you might find it interesting.

with best regards,
Leigh



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic alchemical rituals
From: Joël Tetard
Date: 21 May 2005

I am looking any information concerning old "alchemical" masonic
rituals used during the XVII and XVIII century (and even later) in
France and the rest of Europe.

According to a masonic encyclopedia, several "alchemical rites" were
used (or written) :

· Rite de l'Académie des Vrais Maçons (sic ...) written by the Marquis
d'Aigrefeuille and used in Avignon in 1774 (by the Illuminés d'Avignon
o Dom Pernety ?) and in Montpellier in 1778
· Chapitre de la Toison d'Or
· Rite Hermétique
· Rite Ecossais d'Avignon
· Académie des Sages
· Académie des Sublimes Maîtres de l'Anneau Lumineux (1780)

In Germany, Schroeder's rite would be also linked to alchemy.

Any information concerning these old "rites" would be welcome !

Regards to all.

Joël Tetard




Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic letter G
From: M Evans
Date: 22 May 2005

The letter G is something that was added to Freemasonry, possibly
between 1730 and 1768 (we only know from exposures, and it
wasn't in Prichard's Masonry Dissected in 1730, but is in the Tubal
Cain exposure in 1768). It isn't part of Operative Masonic symbolism
at all. Gamma has the same form as the Compass, and is the first
letter in geometria, and was venerated by Pythagoras.

Josephin Peladan claimed that Operative Masons referred to
themselves as "Gaults" Galli being both Gaul/French and Galli
as cock or rooster, and the cock figures quite prominently in
various heraldic devices of Masons. With Fulcanelli's focus
on heraldic symbolism, this may be a possibility. I expect that F.
was familiar with Peladan. Reghellini promulgated the Cock
(in masonry) as recalling to life the sun, and claims it was used
by the ancient Christians.

M Evans



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic alchemical rituals
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 22 May 2005

Dear Joel,

Concentrating on the topic I am afraid that the best source I found is in Portuguese:

http://www.triplov.com/anes/rituais.html

As far as Pernety is concerned, you may wish to know that the bibliography
attached to the above link is uncomplete.

Besides Pernety himself

- Dom Pemety, Rituel Alchimique Secret, Viareggio, Ed. Rebis, 1981

and Bricaud's work
- Bricaud, Joanny -Les Illuminés d'Avignon -étude sur Dom Pernety et son groupe, Paris,
1927 (reeditada em 1995, pela SEPP, Paris)

one valuable book is to be mentioned:
- Meillassoux- Le Cerf M. Dom Pernety et les illuminés d'Avignon, suivi du
manuscrit de la Sainte Parole, Archê, 1992.

Otherwise there are strong indications that Pernety influenced the later Swedenborg
rite:

http://www.mastermason.com/luxocculta/swedenborg.htm

At the end, I would like to recommend some town archives in Southern France:
Avignon and Bedarrides especially:

http://www.documentation-provence.org/orgs/307.htm
http://www.documentation-provence.org/orgs/138.htm

Regards,
Jean



Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic letter G
From: Alfredo Felix-Diaz
Date: 24 May 2005

Dear Academy,

Thanks all for your help. Though as M Evans states, the masonic letter
G seems to be a more or less modern (speculative) concoction (and as
such simply a reference to Geometry with no alchemical link) there is
at least one lead to make us think it's older. Matila Ghyka mentions
a 14th Century magic manuscript in the Ashmolean Library "with a
pentagram having in its center the letter G, shown as a symbol
allowing one to obtain ".

Even disregarding that, and taking it as modern, Fulcanelli's
linking it with the Subject of the Wise is still somewhat intriguing.
He does not refer often to the Subject of the Wise as such, but
besides that reference to the G in "Les Demeures", in "Le Mystere" we
have figure XXIII in which "the adept is seen with his hands joined...
addressing thanksgiving to Nature, shown as the head and shoulders of a
woman reflected in a MIRROR. We recognize the hieroglyph as showing
the SUBJECT OF THE WISE, the mirror in which nature disclosed>"

So the question would be what this Subject of the Wise is. A mirror
would seem to be an apt symbol of mercury, sublimated and ready to
receive the light of the sun. In that case Galena (lead ore), proposed
by Jean (thank you!) works quite well both in french and english
and even greek: probably in reference to the Nereid Galene, Webster's
Dictionary derives the word from the greek galene, "lit., stilness of
the sea, calm, anything that produces tranquility, hence an antidote
to poison" which seems to describe both a mirror and a sublimated
dragon which no longer stings. Phonetically, it also sounds like the
greek Gala (milk) and Galee ( weasel or cat) which aren't in
themselves bad metaphors for Mercury.

Gallus is quite good also (thank M Evans!), though it doesn't work as
well in french and english (of course when Fulcanelli says its vulgar
name begins with the letter g he could be making a reference to Latin,
which he usually finds more vulgar than Greek and
greek-derived-French). A Gallus anouncing the the Dawn is not unlike a
mirror or calm water ready to reflect the Sun.

But I'm still unsure if this Subject of the Wise is sublimated
mercury, or philosophic mercury which has already integrated sulphur.
In that case Gryphon would be a good guess, in several languages? What
do you think?

If we reread the masonic Mathew Cooke Manuscript (1450) with this in
mind, its description of the name Geometry being invented by Euclid,
Abraham's clerk in Egypt, who taught the people how to dry the land
around the Nile with walls and ditches making it thus able to abound
in all kinds of produce... We have at least a possible metaphor for
alchemical procedures linked to the letter G in early masonry.

All the very best to all,

Alfredo



Subject: ACADEMY: Roger Bacon's Mirror of alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 25 May 2005

The 'Mirror of alchemy' - Speculum Alchemiae - ascribed to Roger Bacon
is usually thought to be a spurious attribution or pseudo-epigraphic
work.

The earliest manuscripts I can locate of this are 15th century. As Bacon
died in 1294, we have a gap of more than 100 years before the first
appearance of this work.

I am sure some scholar must have addressed the authorship or at least
the context of the Speculum Alchemiae, but my memory fails me.
I have looked at the article by Singer :

Singer, D.W. Alchemical writings attributed to Roger Bacon
in Speculum 7, 1932, p80-86.

Singer devotes only a sentence or two to this work.

Has any other scholar investigated this in a little more depth?
It was such an important work to late 16th and 17th century
alchemists, that I would like to know a little bit more about its origins


Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Roger Bacon's Mirror of alchemy
From: Michael Martin
Date: 25 May 2005

Adam,

I do not have it at hand, but Stanton Linden did a translation of the
work a few years back. He discusses the background in his introduction.
I'd check there first.

All the best.
Michael Martin



Subject: ACADEMY: Roger Bacon's Mirror of alchemy
From: Peter Grund
Date: 26 May 2005

Dear Adam,

William Newman has written at least two articles on Bacon and alchemy.
I don't have these articles at hand but they may discuss the Speculum Alchemiae.

"An Overview of Roger Bacon's Alchemy," in Roger Bacon and the Sciences,
Jeremiah Hackett, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1997), pp. 317-336.

"The Alchemy of Roger Bacon and the Tres Epistolae Attributed to Him,"
in Comprendre et Maîtriser la Nature au Moyen Age (Geneva: Droz, 1994),
pp. 461-479.

Stanton Linden's edition of the 1597 printed English edition may also contain
some valuable information.

Linden, Stanton J. (ed.). 1992. The Mirror of Alchemy. Composed by the
Thrice-Famous and Learned Fryer, Roger Bachon. New York and London:
Garland.

Hope this is of some help to you.
All the best,
Peter Grund



Subject: ACADEMY: Roger Bacon's Mirror of alchemy
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 29 May 2005

Dear Adam,

There is an appendix devoted to this work in an article by Antonella Sannino:

- Antonella Sannino, (2000), Ermete mago e alchimista nelle biblioteche
di Guglielmo d'Alvernia e Ruggero Bacone, in: "Studi medievali" 3a serie,
41/1, pp. 151-209, cf. pp. 200-209.

It is a list of manuscripts and it seems to be a tool for a future analysis
or edition. She found three treatises entitled 'Speculum alchemiae' under
the authorship of Roger Bacon.

1. Speculum de transmutatione metallorum. Incipit: Multiphare multisque
modis loquebantur... (28 Latin mss; 3 english mss; 3 French mss)

2. Speculum de lapide philosophico. Incipit: Salutem quia tibi(sibi) amie
carissime, et speculum alkymye quod in corde meo figuravi... (8 mss)

3. Libellus alchemicus. Incipit: sciendum est quia philosophi per quatuor
verba... (2 mss).

Speculum de transmutatione metallorum, in seven chapters, was the most
popular treatise. I think there are some erroneous references in Sannino's
paper. She dates as 14th century two 15th century copies:

- Ms. Sloane 692, ff. 1-9v.
- Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College Ms. 181, ff. 213-219.

But it is only a provisional list, so it is understandable.

There is a 14th century copy in Marburg, Universitaetsbibliothek,
Ms. B-20-b. 37v-41v. Here it appears as anonymous.

A second 14th century copy was cited by Thorndike (not cited by
Sannino), here ascribed to Roger Bacon. see: History of Magic and
Experimental Science, III, p. 175.

Finally, there is another early copy (end of 14th century) in:
Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, Ms. 153 (164), ff. 67-70v. It is here
attributed to a monk called Simon of Cologne. It was published by
Sudhoff in ignorance of the fact that it had already been printed as
Roger Bacon's:
Karl Sudhoff, (1922), Eine alchemistische schrift des 13 Jahrhunderts,
betitelt Speculum alkimiae minus, eines bisher ubekannten Mönches
Simeon von Köln, in: "Archiv für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften
und Technik", 9, pp. 53-67.

Regards,

José Rodríguez



Subject: ACADEMY: Roger Bacon's Mirror of alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 29 May 2005

Dear José,

Thank you so much for the information about the article by Antonella
Sannino.

There appears to be a copy of "Studi medievali" with that article
here in Glasgow, so I should be able to take a look at it next week.

Best wishes,

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Gottlieb Latz
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 29 May 2005

Dear Academy,

Among the 19th c. books on alchemy there is one German item
of over 1000 pages which I have never seen and which is
rarely quoted:

Gottlieb Latz: _Die Alchemie, das ist die Lehre von den grossen
Geheim-Mitteln der Alchemisten und den Speculationen, welche
man an sie Knüpfte: Ein Buch, welches zunächst für Aerzte
geschrieben [ist, zugleich aber auch jedem gebildeten Denker
geboten wird]_
Bonn 1869 (repr. Köln 2003)

I wonder what genre of alchemy writing it is? My guess is that
it may represent a naive-romantic-antiquarian but perhaps it
is occult/esoteric?

I shall be grateful for any details.

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Gottlieb Latz
From: Adam McLean
Date: 29 May 2005

Dear Rafal,

A short section from Gottleib Latz 'Die Alchemie' was translated by
Dennis Hauck in 1993 and published by Holmes Publishing in the USA
under the title 'The Secret of the Emerald Tablet.

In this section from his book, Latz develops a spurious history for
the Emerald Tablet. He dates it back to before 300 BC when he tells us
a group of three Alexandrian alchemists translated it into Greek as they
were trying to unify Jewish, Greek and Egyptian alchemy. He then goes on
elaborate this spurious history within a cloud of esoteric waffle.

It seems that Dennis Hauck when writing his own, widely read, book
'The Emerald Tablet' , 1999, relied on, and to a great extent took the
Latz book as a source and thus contextualises the Emerald Tablet
in ancient Egypt.

There seems to be no scholarly material in the extract translated by
Hauck, and if there are any actual facts in the book itself they are
probably ruthlessly buried in a morass of esoteric speculation.

This book is no doubt one of the sources drawn on by esotericists
during the 20th century.

Adam McLean