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Texts and History of alchemy e-mail group archive
December 1996 and January 1997.

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Subject: TEXTS - Kassel's 'Spendor Solis'
Date: 13 Dec 1996
From: Adam McLean

This morning I received in the post, though the kindness of one of my contacts, a copy of a little booklet describing the manuscript of the Splendor solis in Kassel. This booklet provides plates (7 in colour) of 17 of the 22 illustrations in the manuscript. The author of this booklet Hartmut Broszinski, (writing in German), provides us with an excellent analysis of the work and a full bibliographic description of the manuscript. He gives a listing of seven known 16th century manuscripts of the Splendor solis. Among these he mentions a copy, not known to me, in a private collection.

Here are the details of the booklet.

Broszinski, Hartmut. Lux lucens in tenebris Splendor Solis oder Sonnenglanz. Zur alchimistischen Handschrift 2* [folio] Ms. chem. 21der alten Kasseler Landesbibliothek.
Herausgegeben vom Fons Hessischer Arzneimittelfirmen e.V., Frankfurt am Main. Fulda 1994.
[The address for the publisher is Fons Hessischer Arzneimittelfirmen: Karlstrasse 19-21, 60329 Frankfurt, Germany.]

Here is a precis of the listing of the known early manuscripts of the Splendor solis:-

1. Berlin, Kunstbibliothek der Staatlichen Museen, Kupferstichkabinett, Cod. 78 D 3. [1532-1535]
2. Nurnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Hs 146766 [around 1550]
3. Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preeussischer Kulturbesitz, MS. germ. fol. 42. [last half of 16th century.]
4. Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, ms. allem. 113 [1577]
5. London, The British Library Ms. Harley 3469. [1582]
6. Manuscript in private collection. [1582]
7. Kassel, Gesamthochschul-Bibliothek, Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibl. der Stadt Kassel, 2* [folio] Ms. chem. 21. [1584-1588]

A few years ago I tried to obtain a listing of the alchemical manuscripts in Kassel, but the Librarian would not provide me with a copy of their old catalogue, as a new one was in preparation and would be ready in about 10 years. I am afraid my enthusiasm for alchemical manuscripts makes this 10 year wait rather hard! Does anyone have access to a descriptive listing of the Kassel manuscripts.

With best wishes,

Adam McLean

Subject: TEXTS - Raleigh's School of Night
Date: 20 Dec 96 19:45:38 EST
From: Iain Houston

I [hope this is the] most appropriate discussion group where I might
pursue my interest in Ralegh's School of Night (if anything much is known about
this). I have been fascinated by Ralegh's role in spanning the emerging
scientific and the establishment domains of the time. I am particularly
interested to find out more about who Raleigh worked with in Sherborne before
the time he was arraigned at Cerne Abbas by the Privy Council for atheism. If a
transcript of his trial exists I would love to read his arguments that led to
his aquittal. I would like to know more about Thomas Herriott, Chapman and
Spenser's roles in the School of Night and its Saturnian ethic.

I suppose this is only bordering on the interests of your discussion groups,
although Raleigh was involved in practical alchemy, his documents and equipment
I believe being taken on after his death by the Digbys (mainly Kinelm Digby).

Subject: TEXTS - Raleigh's School of Night
From: Jon Marshall
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 13:49:44 -0800

> From: Iain Houston
> I [hope this is the] most appropriate discussion group where I might
> pursue my interest in Ralegh's School of Night .

These are some books and articles that may be of help in finding writing about
the chymical activities of people associated with Raleigh.

I'm sure there was one simply called 'the school of night' but I can't find trace
of it.

Gatti, H. 'Renaissance drama of knowledge', Routledge, 1989.

Kargon, R.H. 'Atomism in England', OUP, 1966.

Nichol, C. 'The reckoning' ???

Shirley, J. W. "the scientific experiments of Sir Walter Raleigh, the wizard
Earl and the three Magi in the tower 1603-1617" Ambix volume for pp. 52-66,
1949.

Shirley, J. W. ed. *Thomas Harriot: Renaissance scientist* Oxford University
Press, 1974

Shirley, J. W. *Thomas Harriot: a biography* Oxford University Press 1983.

Subject: TEXTS - New publications on Hermetic philosophy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 27th Dec 1996

This morning I received notice of a new book, in German, on Hermetic Philosophy.

Leidtke, Ralf. Die Hermetik: Traditionelle Philosophie der Differenz. Schoeningh GmbH, Postfach 2540, 33055 Paderborn, Germany. 1996. 191 pages. DM48, Fr44,30. ISBN3-506-75199-9.

And a few days ago Stanton Linden informed me of his new book

Linden, Stanton J. Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from Chaucer to the Restoration. Lexington, University Press of Kentucky. 1996.

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
From: Adam McLean
Date: 3 Jan 1997

It is obvious that there are some distinct historical periods in the tradition of western alchemy, which are not necessarily merely a projection of our own late twentieth century views. It might be instructive for us to try and identify some of these periods and provide a description of these on the alchemy web site, so I would welcome peoples views. Some historical periods or phases which immediately spring to my mind are:-

1. The early period 11th-14th centuries in which documents are transmitted from arabic sources and translated into Latin. This is the period of the 'Turba philosophorum', and the scholars.

2. The period in the 15th century when original western alchemical works are created in manuscript, often anonymously. This is the period of the 'Buch der heilgen Dreifaltigkeit', the 'Aurora consurgens' and George Ripley's writings.

3. The Paracelsian phase which extended from the mid-16th century to the early decades of the 17th Century.

4. The 'Rosicrucian phase' in the early part of the 17th century. Rudolf II, Fludd, Maier etc.

5. The Boehmists, beginning with Boehme but extending through Franckenburg, Gichtel in the German speaking world and through John Pordage and the English followers.

6. The English alchemists of the mid-17th century, initially focussed around Hartlib, and encompassing Thomas Vaughan, Boyle, William Cooper, Eireneus Philalethes, Newton etc.

7. The 'Golden and Rosy Cross' and related masonic-alchemical groups in the German speaking world in the mid to late 18th Century.

These periods, of course, overlap, and are not necessarily to be seen as forming a serial evolution, but each of these has a kind of integrity, a core of ideas and coherent approach to alchemy, and many texts and authors can be seen as working within that particular current.

I would welcome any view on this analysis, or ways of extending it, and wonder if it might provide a picture of alchemy as forming a number of loose groupings and alliances, where alchemists at a particular time felt a certain resonance with the ideas of others, rather than the flat evolutionary picture which some historians have tried to present.

Adam McLean

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 1997 18:11:44 +0100
From: Michela Pereira

Dear Adam, I strongly appreciate your idea of focusing a discussion about
periodisation of Western alchemy. Some remarks on your proposed list.

>1. The early period 11th-14th centuries in which documents are transmitted
>from arabic sources and translated into Latin. This is the period of the
>'Turba philosophorum', and the scholars.
>
>2. The period in the 15th century when original western alchemical works are
>created in manuscript, often anonymously. This is the period of the 'Buch
>der heilgen Dreifaltigkeit', the 'Aurora consurgens' and George Ripley's
>writings.

Original western alchemical works began to appear already in the XIII
century (the Latin Geber Summa perfectionis magisterii being the most
important but absolutely not the only one), and a flourishing of alchemical
writings took place in the first half of the XIV century: the Testamentum
attributed to Lull, the Rosarius attributed to Arnald of Villanova, the
works of John Dastin, the De consideratione quintae essentiae by John of
Rupescissa all date to that epoch (many others could be added). So far, an
outlook to XV century production seems me to show indeed a numerical
increase of alchemical writings, but not a marked originality, as the
majority of them depended on the previous named as well as on the alchemical
literature of arabic origin (among those you name, this is perhaps the case
of Ripley; not of the Dreif.; as regards the date of composition of Aurora
Consurgens, it seems not so sure that it is as late as XV c.). What I think
is that after 1350 there was taking place a change of orientation as regards
authorship: although the corpuses attributed to Medieval philosophers
continued growing, many 'minor' authors appeared, i.e. we can suppose that
more alchemists gave their name to their treatises. The material assembled
by Lynn Thorndike, and more recent published and unpublished research, show
a diffusion of alchemy and an increase of its 'visibility' in XV century
society. Yet it does not seem to imply originality in alchemical doctrines
(they seem rather 'stuck' to ideas of the previous century); as far as
practice is concerned, things seem more uncertain: there is surely a growing
interest in copying recipes and practical parts of longer and more complex
texts, but I do not know whether it means new discoveries and so on
(although it seems not improbable).

>These periods, of course, overlap, and are not necessarily to be seen as
>forming a serial evolution, but each of these has a kind of integrity, a
>core of ideas and coherent approach to alchemy, and many texts and authors
>can be seen as working within that particular current.

In Medieval alchemy up to the XV century we see three currents which have
different beginnings: metallurgical alchemy, that represents the first
understanding of alchemy on the Latins' part; alchemy of the elixir,
searching for the perfection of human bodies as well as of metals and slowly
giving way to medical, or pharmacological, alchemy centered around the idea
of quinta essentia; and alchemy as a spiritual quest, that begins to appear
in connection with the developments in the field of the elixir, probably by
way of the connection between bodily and spiritual salvation. Is it possible
to think of later alchemy as varied and differing combinations of such
'basic ingredients'?

>I would welcome any view on this analysis, or ways of extending it, and
>wonder if it might provide a picture of alchemy as forming a number of loose
>groupings and alliances, where alchemists at a particular time felt a
>certain resonance with the ideas of others, rather than the flat
>evolutionary picture which some historians have tried to present.

This sound quite true, and an enlarged exchange of ideas among searchers in
the history of alchemy cannot but reach the goal of a more complex (and more
correct, I think) view about it, without forgetting the continuous exchanges
between alchemists and philosophers/scientists well into the XVII and XVIII
centuries.

Thank you

Michela Pereira

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
From: Jon Marshall
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 1997 17:52:27 -0800

I hope people will forgive the shameless egoism of me posting an excerpt from the
introduction to my 1992 MA thesis about historical periods in British alchemy.

It has been slightly modified by the deletion of 'controversial' matter and the
addition of some comments at the end.

jon

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

This work aims to show in what ways alchemy was caught in the social processes of its time, and in particular how the conflicts between groups in the wider society influenced its trajectory. This is not to argue that ideologies stand for, or represent, politics or interests but that the attempt to couch a statement so that it is acceptable to a group, or produces some kind of victory, influences the form of the discourse. To obtain consent, or even understanding, represents an exercise of power and this power can derive its effect from the results of other conflicts.

Following these notions it is argued that the history and fortunes of Alchemy can be divided into four phases and that these four phases are marked, not only by differences in method and objects, but by the relationship of the alchemist's writings and work to those of the conductors of other discourses, and particularly by relations of power in society in general.

This approach shows quite clearly that alchemical discourse was not static, and was not one thing but many, changing over time. This would not seem intuitively surprising, but many analysts behave as if alchemy was a uniform thing, and in some cases act as if there was no difference between 4th Century Alexandrian Alchemy and 17th century British Alchemy.

The four main periods revealed by the investigation are as follows:

Firstly, the period 1200-1520. During this time alchemy was part of the background, occasionally the subject of Papal or Regal condemnation, usually in connection with false coinage or infringement of monastic discipline. It was the subject of some skepticism, despite considerable research and innovation (extraction of alcohol, manufacture of the mineral acids and discovery of some metals etc.). Most textual production was anonymous or pseudonymous. The earlier part of this period was concerned primarily with translation or with exposition of the theory ('scientia') of alchemy. The discourse appears to have been largely unorganised and individual as alchemists did not seem to share work, though they might pass on disconnected 'secrets'. Some transmission occurs from adepts to chosen pupils usually under oath and in private. There was an absence of dialogue, the determining factor is secrecy due in part to the threat of prosecution by Church or State. In England there were tw!
o main categories of people who performed alchemy, firstly clerics and secondly people who had licenses from the king to practise and who were expected to infor
m the monarch of their progress. In both cases transmutation of metals and production of wealth seems to have been the main interest. {{comment1}}

The next period, 1520-1620 (dates are approximate, not absolute of course)
can be associated with the Reformation. This connection was made explicitly by some alchemists who saw themselves as reformers challenging established beliefs with ancient truths. The emergence of the phase can be associated with Paracelsus (1493-1541), who not only was one of the first alchemists to go public {{comment 2}}, but also enunciated a clear challenge to medical orthodoxy. This challenge consisted of proposing new modes of treatment and diagnosis, putting forward different theories of the workings of the body, and by violent disparagement of the orthodox medical profession as a whole.

After his death, numerous people seem to have used Paracelsus as a tool to attack the establishment, not only by using his writings but by attributing their own writings to him.
Simultaneously organisations of Physicians pressed for more control over other medical practitioners (Folk, Surgeons, Apothecaries, Paracelsians)

In Britain this debate with the medical profession, began later than on the continent and was not as intense or as embroiled in religious politics. There was initially less overt challenge to medical monopoly and Paracelsian remedies were assimilated into orthodox practice, while they largely ignored the theories.

In this period alchemy was defined by its attack on medical orthodoxy. It was shaped by open dispute. There was less anonymity, and in order to carry out this attack alchemists began to co-operate, though they may still have worked alone. It appears that many alchemists depended upon their own abilities as practitioners to survive.

Undoubtedly this period was influenced by the spread of the invention of movable type face printing sometime after 1445. The first book printed in Britain with this new technology was produced in 1477. Books on alchemy were not printed in Britain until the late 1500s, and not commonly until the mid 1600s.

The next period , 1610-1660, features the association of alchemy with organisations for the reform of Society, Religion and Learning. Some of these groups were secret and some, such as the Rosicrucians, were probably fictitious. In Britain these groups flourished during the Civil Wars and the Commonwealth (1642-60). The graphs in the appendixes show that the number of alchemical publications and active alchemists increased rapidly during the 1650s. This boom seems largely to correspond with an increase in the number of alchemists focusing on medicine as interest and career. The best known and most influential group of alchemists was that linked to Samuel Hartlib. The formation of these (lossely linked) groups gradually changed the mode of discourse: fewer alchemists seem to have been working completely alone, manuscripts were transmitted rapidly, joint projects begun, and texts shifted to being operational rather than coded. Medical aspects of alchemy intensified, and alchem!
ists were drawn into debates with the Universities on the nature and function of Learning, and into debates on the nature of Religion- tending on the whole to f
avour an individual experiential religion rather than a dogmatic one.

In this period the space from which to enunciate the theories and practice of Alchemy seems to have been perceived as secure. Alchemists saw themselves as part of a wider process of reform, as part of a new era. There was co-operation, distribution and publication of texts, public lectures, simple manuals and dialogue. In this phase, and the previous one, alchemists tended to be itinerants, neither well off nor poor enough to be labourers, they generally made a living through medicine or the support of the wealthy interested in establishing metallic technologies for profit (Thomas Charnock, in the 16th century seems to have been one of the earliest british alchemists interested in industrial alchemy)- perhaps these are the educated people who would have previously made a living in the Church and the monasteries. Alchemists with independent incomes tended to be more traditional and less involved with reform.

This period flows into the final period (1660-90), which in Britain was marked by the Restoration and the establishment of the Royal Society. In this period alchemy was marginalised and rendered incomprehensible by the "New Philosophy" which eventually became what we know as Science. Real decline in the number of alchemical publications and active alchemists appears to set in during the 1680s. This happens despite quite a few active members of the Royal Society being practitioners of alchemy. The main cause of the marginalisation of alchemy seemsto be the necessity to avoid controversy with the State and Religion. Reform groups moved their position from one of General Reform to one of reform of Learning only. Thus the Royal Society disassociated itself from earlier reform groups, such as the Hartlib Circle and kept quiet about the activities of itsmembers during the Interregnum, condemning revolutionary politics in general. It also embraced a rhetoric of condemnation of reli!
gious 'Enthusiasm' [[footnote 1]] which was associated with the 'extreme' popular movements of the Commonwealth. One of the consequences of this rhetoric was to
remove the psychological state of the observer from the observation, substituting a theory of concrete and separated perception for the alchemical theory of the `Light of Nature' and revelation from God. This theory of perception narrowed the kind of responses possible to phenomena and the kinds of phenomena that could be considered. This in turn affected the kind of metaphors and language that could be considered appropriate for use in description. Thus there was a removal of tropes considered poetic and a substitution of tropes considered sober, plain or mechanical. This indirectly removed the legitimation for alchemical activity and it soon became less open. Alchemy then had to be practised secretly for fear of ridicule or openly only outside the main stream of public discourse. It was obvious to the younger apologists of the Royal Society that no one 'sensible' practised alchemy, therefore they didn't see it around them. As the split between material and spiritual accel!
erated it only became possible to talk about alchemy in a 'Spiritual' sense, because it was ideologically obvious that it couldn't work in a 'Material' sense {{
comment 3}}. This position was reinforced by the deaths of a large number of established alchemists in Britain between 1660 and 1670 which removed them from any debate. In comparison with earlier periods, members of the Royal Society tended to have regular sources of income, often dependent upon the State or upon the judgment of others with the power to grant funds.

It may be considered that there was a final period for alchemy after the start of the eighteenth century, when the process of accepting the 'newtonian philosophy [[footnote 2]] lead not only to an acceleration of trends in the fourth phase, but to a more or less complete neglect of the subjects of alchemy (chemistry and medicine to name but the obvious), and science became the province of those who were theoreticians supporting the social order from university or pulpit, or who were prepared to help the 'capitalist' use of machinery and material resources. The Universe was no longer alive, but dead and to be moved only at the command of God or man, but not of itself.

footnotes:
1 the term 'enthusiasm' was used to refer to the doctrine of direct, individual experience of the spirit. The word was originally used in English to refer to the possession and ecstacies experienced in classical pagan religions. Hence it not only became associated with poetry and the inspiration of the muse, but also with falsity.
By the 1640s it was commonly applied by the orthodox to anabaptists and the like (OED. V:196-7).

2 the 'newtonian philosophy was not necessarily the philosophy of Newton himself. Newton spent a lot of effort to hide his own views, and at least until 1696 his views encompassed both alchemy and the philosophy with which he is more usually associated.

comments

1 I would now regard this treatment of this 300 years of alchemical history as crass in the extreme but the divisions are hard to isolate or be at all firm about. As Michela points out there seems to have been an explosion of originality in the late 14th century, though dating of the Lullian works is complex (I guess you are the Perreira that wrote the excellent "alchemical corpus attributed to Ramon Lull" so I won't press the point :) ). It has been argued that there was a flourishing Lullian school in Britain at this time, but it would need a great deal of work among the manuscripts to determine the truth of this matter and to find out information about the people involved and the nature of their contacts if any.

2 Of course Paracelsus was not the first non-psuedonymous alchemist, Norton and Ripley were slightly earlier, but it is interesting that the appearance of non-psuedonymous alchemists should occur at about the same time.

3 It is this division plus the retreat of the radical religious from social involvement into isolated quietism which seems to provide the social basis for the Behmenist 'movement'. The same kind of change occurred amongst the Quakers as well.

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 1997 22:46:15 -0700 (MST)
From: Thomas S Willard

The remarks of Adam and Michela seem very important to me. The fascination
of the "tradition" in alchemy is partly in the way that one author (or one
school or period) interprets another. For example, Michael Maier's
alchemical summa, Symbola Aureae Mensae Duodecim Nationum, establishes his
understanding of the Rosicrucian/Paracelsian tradition but also of Western
alchemy back to the Byzantine (Democritus, Maria Prophetessa). It would be
very helpful, to me at least, to identify some of the assumptions that
give a specific "period" its distinguishing characteristics.

The pseudepigrapha (or "false writings") under names like Aristotle
may pose a special problem in periodization: they show how one age wants
to read its predecessors, yet are the creation of that age. Titus
Burckhardt brought out the problem very nicely in his book on alchemy.

Tom Willard

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 1997 22:47:42 -0800
From: Belle Hall

This is from Belle Hall and my apologies in advance for being so ...so
philosophical?

Dear Adam McLean,

Forgive my simplicity; it is my nature to take the simple and complicate
it and, in this instance, to take that which is over my head and make it
childlike.

While my thoughts were preoccupied with the ouroboros image, I was
opening my "e-box" and reading weekend alchemical updates.
Consequently I began to see alchemy as an idea that seems to be
coming, like the ouroborous, full circle... perhaps in sync with the
millenium? I might even be so bold as to suggest that the whole
historical knowledge of transmutation in respect to humankind is
following the same type of process as the individual working on the
inner and/or the individual working on the practical?

Our first alchemists, the Egyptians, as members of humankind, did
not KNOW atoms and relativity equations. What they KNEW was
that GOD was in Everything/everything.The alchemists/priests taught
this as religion/secret Knowledge. It was not an idea for discussion.
There was NO DISCUSSION; the center of life was GOD. Therefore
time could be spent turning base metals into gold as they already
seemed to see some of their own as "gold" and One with Ra.

As the centuries progressed and homo sapien intellectus (or in some
cases pseudointellectus) discovered more and more about his natural
world through the manifestation of printing presses, killing utensils,
genetics, taxonomies, pharmaceuticals etc. GOD became less of the
ordinary/sublime and seemed relegated to places and buildings and
things. And to get those things, homo sapien intellectus needed gold
or so he convinced himself. One of those things was the church and
the state and ironically, the true alchemist (not puffer) then had to veil
himself still further in enigmatic language to escape various reigns of
terror/ persecution etc. stemming from those things to continue the Truth.

Homo sapien intellectus had to ponder who or what was the gold and
who or what was the lead. Consider, please, what the times were called...
dark ages, middle ages, Renaissance, age of enlightenment... loosely
there's a thread of CONNECTEDNESS to nigredo? distillation? baptisma?
coniunctio? (I'm not an expert or a history major or I'd align these better
and into a 7, 10 or 12 stage allegory. Someone else more scholarly than
me is welcome to do that)

But as things (material) seemed to become more readily available to wider
audiences (base metals?) and homo sapien intellectus learned so much
about himself that he needed machines to assist, he paid even less
attention to what inspired his creativity and more to using machines
(usually made of metal) to turn raw materia into profit (gold). Finally GOD
(who is, for me, our only ESSENSE) was seen and experienced in less
and less, and homo sapien intellectus chose to alternatively see Him in all
(transcendentalists, for example) and nothing (the lost generation).
Perhaps there's a hint of separatio here.

And then came the pestilence of twentieth century. Where was the
alchemist to link our individual and universal soul with Home? So is it
any wonder that alchemy and Jung met up in his dream? That inspired one
about the pigskin bound books with the strange symbolic copper
engravings? The one that "lead" CGJ to the books and synchronicity and
the "Golden flower? Hey,"I Ching" Jung was on to something! Looking
at alchemy through historical periods would certainly be a means
for adding knowledge. But in the end will we not find ourselves at the
beginning? Back where GOD was/is in Everything/everything... NO
DISCUSSION. GOD is again the center of life. Yin/yang... a place of
oxymorons. A place of harmonic dissonance, changing constants,
nouveau ancients, and sage initiates. A concept where East greets
West and the Lamb lies with the Lion.

Again and as always grateful am I for Grace, without which I am not.

Belle

Subject: TEXTS - Egyptian roots
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 97 16:24:43 +0300

> From: Belle Hall
> Our first alchemists, the Egyptians, as members of humankind, did
> not KNOW atoms and relativity equations. What they KNEW was
> that GOD was in Everything/everything.The alchemists/priests taught
> this as religion/secret Knowledge. It was not an idea for discussion.
> There was NO DISCUSSION; the center of life was GOD. Therefore
> time could be spent turning base metals into gold as they already
> seemed to see some of their own as "gold" and One with Ra.

I wish to take up here that thread of this letter which concerns "TEXTS", i.e.
philology (as I remember, there is one among the five alchemy e-mail lists
dedicated specifically to speculative issues, whose participants are surely a
better forum for the questions which make up the remaining main bulk of the
letter).

Indeed, hermetic tradition traces alchemy's genealogy to Egyptian priests.
However, this claim is not easy to substantiate. The only evidence I am aware
of is indirect. It is the mention in Suda, among Petosiris' works, of a
treatise called (diacritics omitted, long vowels transcribed as duplicated
short ones) "peri toon par' Aigyptiois mysteerioon". It is known that
"mysteerion" "audit apud chymicos tinctura illa ad aurum fabricandum
adhibenda"; and taking into account that Petosiris (but is he the same
person?) is mentioned in a demotic papyrus of 617 B.C., it can be considered
as an evidence for existence of purely Egyptian practical alchemy.

But only of a practical one. The pantheistic concept "that GOD was in
Everything/everything" was coined by Ptah's priests, but there is no
evidence that it was adopted in theological centres outside Memphis.
When reading Coptic gnostic texts, such as "Peri tees hypostaseoos toon
exousioon" for example, the thing that comes into notice are the non-Coptic
names of Spirits: they are Semitic or Greek. Also, there is no direct evidence
that Egyptians used the notion of primary elements in pre-Hellenistic epoch;
and without such notion the theoretical concept of transmutation is not
possible.

Then, it seems warranted to suppose that Egyptian (proto-)alchemy was
just mercantile aurifaction (aurifiction?), and it was an historical accident
that conjoined it with the clandestine hermetic community which had arisen
on another ethnic soil.

Leo Kokun

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
From: Michela Pereira
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 23:47:21 +0100

To Jon Marshall

Your MA thesis seems to be a very interesting work; are you bringing forth
your research on alchemy?

>Following these notions it is argued that the history and fortunes of
>Alchemy can be divided into four phases and that these four phases are
>marked, not only by differences in method and objects, but by the
>relationship of the alchemist's writings and work to those of the conductors
>of other discourses, and particularly by relations of power in society in
>general.

As regards this problem, a systematic study of the condemnations and
official prohibitions of alchemy should be of interest.

>This approach shows quite clearly that alchemical discourse was not static,
>and was not one thing but many, changing over time.

As you certainly know, this is not uncontroversial for people approaching
alchemy from inside the esoteric tradition: historical research on alchemy,
on the other side, cannot alone explain the deep attraction that alchemy
still has on many thoughful people ... Things are more complex than any
onesided approach to alchemy can show.

> In England there were two main categories of people who performed
>alchemy, firstly clerics and secondly people who had licenses from the
>king to practise and who were expected to inform the monarch of their
>progress. In both cases transmutation of metals and
>production of wealth seems to have been the main interest.

Not only this: there is at least a rather famous episode of 1455 concerning
the alchemical search for the elixir for medical purposes, studied by D.
Geoghegan (Ambix ("Ambix" 6, 1957). Moreover, the interest for medical use
of alchemy dates back to the authentic works of Roger Bacon.

>1 I would now regard this treatment of this 300 years of alchemical history
>as crass in the extreme but the divisions are hard to isolate or be at all
>firm about. As Michela points out there seems to have been an explosion of
>originality in the late 14th century, though dating of the Lullian works is
>complex (I guess you are the Perreira that wrote

Yes I am that; thank you for the 'excellent'.

> the excellent "alchemical
>corpus attributed to Ramon Lull" so I won't press the point :) ). It has
>been argued that there was a flourishing Lullian school in Britain at this
>time, but it would need a great deal of work among the manuscripts to
>determine the truth of this matter and to find out information about the
>people involved and the nature of their contacts if any.

Much work is needed: anyone is welcome.

>2 Of course Paracelsus was not the first non-psuedonymous alchemist, Norton
>and Ripley were slightly earlier, but it is interesting that the appearance
>of non-psuedonymous alchemists should occur at about the same time.

This seems true not only for English alchemy: it is interesting indeed that
the period of growth of the alchemical 'corpuses' (ps. Lull, ps. Bacon, Ps.
Arnold of Villanova etc.) is the same when an increasing number of
alchemists sign their works.

Best wishes
Michela Pereira

Subject: TEXTS - Egyptian roots
Date: Mon, 06 Jan 1997 20:03:43 -0800
From: Belle Hall

Dear Leo Kokun,

I readily accept correction. I am concerned as to why I have come to
understand that the origins of alchemy are associated with
Egypt/hieroglyph Khmi in the initial stages of my study. The first 10-12
books I picked up on the subject referred to Western alchemical texts
from a Hellenistic Egypt-particularly Alexandria-from the first century
of the Christian era. A Codex Marcionus? came up several times
containing a text said to be written by Isis to her son Horus in which
she tells him the secret after supposedly witholding sexual favors from
angels. Sound plausable? Not anymore than some of the other more recent
texts explaining secret procurement, but believing in miracles can be
one aspect of the alchemical tradition, can't it?

I am very aware of the difficulty in "proving" Egyptian connection.
The small point that I started to understand myself and inquired about
was this. Egyptians had begun processes we now call geology, metallurgy
and chemistry. They were developing methods to separate gold, silver,
copper, lead iron and tin from ore and some alloy use. They were
dyeing, brewing, gilding and embalming their dead. They dismembered the
body and reassembled it, put it in a vessel with a secret Book of the
Dead.. even put grain and water in that sealed sarcophagus for the next
life. Maybe I missed the crux of the tradition here, but it rings to me
of alchemical practices throughout history as we understand it.

All I do know is this... Even the Rosarium Philosophorum says"make a
round circle out of the man and woman, and..." I just saw the circle.
Instead of a small circle beginning from a particular "ethnic soil", I
just chose to draw a really big circle and include the Egyptians.

The alchemical texts I have read seem to point out again and again
that the Art includes not only the speck of dust, but Everything else as
well. I'll stop defending my position now because I admitted up front
that I was simplifying the complex. But I shall not stop my
journey. Essentially my intent was to provide a "seed" thought for the
scholarly. As alchemy has progressed,it seems that every once in awhile a
new element is incorporated into the recipe. Perhaps that decision is in
Another's Hands. Thank you again for an alternate interpretation.

Peace,
Belle

Subject: TEXTS - Egyptian roots
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 97 12:35:00 +0300

Dear Belle Hall,

In this connection, I would like to make the contents of my previous
letter more precise. When saying of Egyptian provenance of alchemy,
one can mean either its origin in ancient Egypts's culture (which is
true in regard of alchemical technology only), or the fact that the
complex of concepts that constitute it was formed on Egypt's territory
(which is obvious). However, the latter case is associated with the
following confusion. In the Hellenistic period, alchemy in the strict sense
of the word happened to be tied to a gnostic teaching presented in
Corpus Hermeticum. This teaching which arose presumably in III-II cent.
B.C. claimed that the texts of the Corpus are translations of the secret
books of Thot which, according to Egyptian tradition, were kept in
sacrosanct hidings in Thot's main temple in Hermopolis.
This claim, whose purport was to impart divine authority to one's
own teaching, is untenable in view of a multitude of considerations
(which, however, does not prevent it from being widespread even in
modern literature). So, my aim was to point out that the pretendedly
Egyptian hermetic philosophy is not of genuinely Egyptian origin.

Leo Kokun

Subject: TEXTS - Blavatskaya
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 97 12:52:04 +0300

As Elena Blavatskaya wrote on alchemy, I suppose that the question below
is within the ken of the present e-mail list.

In 1885, the London Society for Psychic Research (here this name is
re-translated back from Polish, so the correct wording may be different)
published a report on Blavatskaya's trickeries (which caused a significant
drop in popularity of the Theosophic Society). Can anyone provide me with
bibliographical data on that publication? And, perhaps, is there any site
on the Web touching the issue?

Thanks

Leo Kokun

Subject: TEXTS - Blavatskaya
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 17:46:59 -0800
From: Belle Hall

Dear Mr. Kokun,

Purely out of curiosity why do you refer to Madame's ideas as trickeries?
Alchemy is a topic; that it something to which I agree. But the Art is an
Art. And much like religion and politics, it generally cannot be put into
a correct and a not correct category. A significant part of the Art is in
its belief. It is only trickery if that is what one believes. The
Alchemist understands that nothing is as it seems and allows for leeway
as Alchemy is Art. But the Alchemist also understands that
Everything/everything has a Reason and a Place. May that be remembered as
one operates.

Peace,

Belle

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

Note added by Adam McLean.

The texts and history e-mail group is not a speculative forum, like as is the
inner alchemy group. In the texts and history group we must look at the facts
and explore alchemical ideas and texts through existing sources. Leo Kokun
is thus quite correct to question the validity of Madame Blavatsky's 'sources'
the precipitated letters etc. In this particular e-mail group we must pay little
attention to our beliefs but must argue and investigate alchemy through the
known documents. Indeed, one has much to learn from how a particular trick
was set up, as this allows us a glimpse into the mindset of people around Madame
Blavatsky who inwardly needed to believe in these miraculous happenings.
It is interesting that Madame Blavatsky (despite her obvious abilities in presenting
spiritual ideas in writing) felt she had to resort to the miracle of 'precipitated
letters' to develop the Theosophical Society, rather than found it entirely on a
philosophical basis. This foundation on miraculous events so coloured the
Theosophical Society, that Besant and Leadbeater some twenty years later,
still resorted to similar tricks and miraculous revelations, and one of the
consequences of this was the separation out of Rudolf Steiner's
Anthroposophy from the mainstream of Theosophy. So there is much to learn
about the way in which a movement like Theosophy unfolds by the sort of
investigation that Leo Kokun wishes us to undertake. The texts and history group
is the correct place for us to take a sceptical view and investigate matters
rigorously.

Adam McLean

--------

Subject: TEXTS - Historical periods
From: Jon Marshall
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 1997 15:23:33 -0800

> From: Michela Pereira
> Your MA thesis seems to be a very interesting work; are you bringing forth
> your research on alchemy?

Well there has been some interuptions, health problems etc., and I'm an
anthropologist and have to do field work - so I had to change topics a bit, but
hopefully I'll be back soon, i.e. next year...

> >Following these notions it is argued that the history and fortunes of
> >Alchemy can be divided into four phases and that these four phases are
> >marked, not only by differences in method and objects, but by the
> >relationship of the alchemist's writings and work to those of the conductors
> >of other discourses, and particularly by relations of power in society in
> >general.
>
> As regards this problem, a systematic study of the condemnations and
> official prohibitions of alchemy should be of interest.

Well in Britain, at least, there are also official encouragements of alchemy
like the two Commissions of 1456 and 1457 to see if alchemy was a good method of
increasing the wealth of the nation and paying off its debts...

Most of the British laws against alchemy seem to be to ensure that the monarch
gets to hear of the results or to apprehend false coiners...

> >This approach shows quite clearly that alchemical discourse was not static,
> >and was not one thing but many, changing over time.
>
> As you certainly know, this is not uncontroversial for people approaching
> alchemy from inside the esoteric tradition: historical research on alchemy,
> on the other side, cannot alone explain the deep attraction that alchemy
> still has on many thoughful people ... Things are more complex than any
> onesided approach to alchemy can show.

Absolutely which is why as historians (or 'with our historian's hat on' as the
phrase might be) we cannot assume that the tradition is uniform. such an
assumption usually leads to us dismissing interest in whole groups of people
who might have considered themselves alchemists but whom we might think
were doing the wrong thing.

I was planing at one time to do factor analysis on the alchemists quoted in
various texts to see if the texts could be divided into 'traditions', thus if
Eireneus Philalethes praises Ripley and condemns Geber, and say Eugenius
does the opposite then we might feel that they represented two different
traditions etc.. or where at least doing different things (which we might feel
already obviously)

> > In England there were two main categories of people who performed
> >alchemy, firstly clerics and secondly people who had licenses from the
> >king to practise and who were expected to inform the monarch of their
> >progress. In both cases transmutation of metals and
> >production of wealth seems to have been the main interest.
>
> Not only this: there is at least a rather famous episode of 1455 concerning
> the alchemical search for the elixir for medical purposes, studied by D.
> Geoghegan (Ambix ("Ambix" 6, 1957).

But you will have noticed that these were licensed by the king...

I read somewhere and I'm afaid I can't remember where, the suggestion that the
medical tradition was well developed in Britain (more so than on the continent)
before Paracelsus and this was another reason why the conflict between alchemist
and physician was initialy much less severe.

> > As Michela points out there seems to have been an explosion of
> >originality in the late 14th century, though dating of the Lullian works is
> >complex (I guess you are the Perreira that wrote
>
> Yes I am that; thank you for the 'excellent'.

well its true and i look forward to your next work, and we need more such
studies of the textual traditions and dates.... who owned the mss who gave
them to who etc..

> > Of course Paracelsus was not the first non-psuedonymous alchemist, Norton
> >and Ripley were slightly earlier, but it is interesting that the appearance
> >of non-psuedonymous alchemists should occur at about the same time.
>
> This seems true not only for English alchemy: it is interesting indeed that
> the period of growth of the alchemical 'corpuses' (ps. Lull, ps. Bacon, Ps.
> Arnold of Villanova etc.) is the same when an increasing number of
> alchemists sign their works.

Definitely. So who else do we have?

Best wishes in return

jon

Subject: TEXTS - Blavatskaya
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 1997 19:09:33 +0100 (MET)
From: douwe

Dear Leo

You might find all the information that you are looking for when you ask the
same question in the newsgroup alt.theosophy.
There are some people around there with a lot of knowledge of the historical
side of Theosophy.

I myself don't know enough about the issue that you brought up apart from
that I remember that one jumps in a pool of pros and cons if one tries to
prove or disprove the trickeries of Blavatsky.

Regards,

Douwe

Subject: TEXTS - Blavatskaya
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 97 12:25:08 +0300

> From: Belle Hall
> Purely out of curiosity why do you refer to Madame's ideas as trickeries?

Dear Belle Hall,

If you re-read my letter attentively, you will see that I do not refer to
Blavatskaya's ideas at all. The London Society for Psychic Research asserted
to have unmasked her deliberate trickeries; I want to know what there was in
truth, with no preconception.

Leo Kokun

Subject: TEXTS - Blavatskaya
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 01:23:20 +0100
From: Michal Pober

A recent book-review in the Guardian Weekly caught my eye. Apparently a new
paperback, title: Madame Blavatsky's Baboon, by Peter Washington (Secker &
Warburg, £ 12.99).

"...remember Madame Blavatsky, Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, who infected the
early part of the century with the most appalling cod-mysticism. This book
contains chapter and verse on these fraudsters....one wonders why
Washington has spent so much energy writing about these people and their
dupes."

Hope this isn't too virulent a posting for this respectable and serious group!
michal

Michal Pober

Subject: TEXTS - Cagliostro
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 97 16:41:35 +0300

In connection with the story of transmutation made by Cagliostro in Warsaw
which is told in ".../alchemy/cagliost.html", there exists another contemporary
evidence of the same event. I quote it from:
V.Zotov: Kaliostro, yego zhyzn' i prebywaniye w Rossii. In: "Russkaya
starina" t.12, January 1875.

I quote without commentaries:
"... Cagliostro ... unexpectedly appeared in Warsaw at the beginning of May
1780. ...There is a curious and quite conscientious booklet on his stay in
this city, named "Cagliostro de'masque' 'a Varsovie ou relation authentique
de ses ope'rations alchimiques". Though published anonymously, it belongs to
the pen of count Moszynski [in contemporary documents I met this name in the
form "Moszczen'ski" - L.K.], and is a part of his diary. The judgements of
the author are strengthened by the fact that he himself was a notable
scientist and in particular - a chemist. ...

... Beside raising ghosts, Cagliostro ... also did not stop to make
gold from mercury, and count Moszynski describes in his booklet in detail
all ploys of the alchemist... when after a time the plastered crucible, where
mercury was boiling with an addition of a red powder, was opened, a silver
alloy with traces of gold was found in the crucible. This deed produced strong
impression even on Moszynski who distrusted the impostor, who in fact caught
a favourable moment to substitute the crucible. This guess was confirmed
afterwards: the fragments of a crucible with residue of mercury compounds
were found in a pit in the garden of the home where the alchemist lived. ..."

Leo Kokun

Subject: TEXTS - Mutus Liber
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 18:07:54 -0500 (EST)
From: Ken Roche

I have just returned from Paris where I bought a copy of a book called L'
Alchimie et son Livre Muet' (Mutus Liber). The sub title reads: "Réimpression
intégrale de l'édition originale de La Rochelle 1677. Introduction et
commentaires par Eugène Canseliet F.C.H. disciple de Fulcanelli." J. C.
Bailly is the Editor/Publisher, 1996 the date. Above the title is a name:
Issac Baulot. A blurb on the back claims that it was Baulot who authored the
Mutus Liber.

I have two questions: I doubt I will be lucky enough to find a
translation of this book, but can anybody recommend a good book on the Mutus
Liber - in English?
My skills in French turned out to be "optimistic".

Second: I would be very interested in any information on La Rochelle and
its associations with alchemy. I served in the US Army in La Rochelle and I
will be returning to that city over Christmas 1997 to engage in some research
at their library on illuminated manuscripts and Books of Days - if La
Rochelle was also an alchemical center of note I would appreciate some clues
to research.

On a related note: I bought the book in a bookstore called the Emerald
Tablet [the name is probably in French - I really can't remember - but all of
the books were in French] and on the corner of a table were a handful of
books devoted to the "language of the birds". I remembered that old thread on
the academic alchemy forum and I thought of you guys.

Joe

Mon Jan 20 19:12:14 1997
Subject: TEXTS - Mutus liber
From: Adam McLean
Date: Mon 20th Jan 1997

The 'Mutus liber' has been ascribed to Isaac Baulot because of the discovery of the signature 'Isaac Baulot' on an early manuscript copy of the 'Mutus liber' in Marsh's library in Dublin. Somewhere I have among my piles of papers a photocopy of an article on the discovery of the signature.

Adam McLean

Subject: TEXTS - General remarks on Islamic Alchemy.
From: Erman Tas
Date: 20th Jan 1997

Alchemy in the Islamic world was considered both as a traditional occult
science and art as it was in the Latin West, which is historically and
conceptually a direct continuation of Islamic alchemy. (The word alchemy
comes from the Arabic al-kimiya).

See Seyyed Hossein Nasr (a specialist in the history of Islamic sciences),
'Islamic Science, an Illustrated Study', England 1976, pages 194-206).

Erman Tas

Subject: TEXTS - General remarks on Islamic Alchemy
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 21:25:23 +0000
From: John France

Dear Erman Tas,

>Alchemy in the Islamic world was considered both as a traditional occult
>science and art as it was in the Latin West, which is historically and
>conceptually a direct continuation of Islamic alchemy. (The word alchemy
>comes from the Arabic al-kimiya).

I am particularly interested in the alchemical transmission from the
Middle East, although I am not convinced that Islam is intrinsically
connected, Islam appears to have been more of a 'carrier' than a
'source'.

I have read S.H. Nasr's comments and found them helpful. I wonder if you
might know of any other interesting publications in this area which
might be accessible and/or available. I would like to know more about
Jabir Ibn el-Hayyan's (Geber) contribution, and whether anything is
available about his master, the Imam Jafar Sadiq (700-765).

John France

Subject: TEXTS - Transmutations stories
From: Adam McLean
Date: 21 Jan 1997

I am planning to issue a little booklet of transmutation stories. Does anyone have any suggestions for texts or stories that could be included?

Adam McLean

Subject: TEXTS - Islamic Alchemy
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 97 15:59 +0200
From: Tzvi Langermann

The most recent publication on Jabir is the following book:

Names, Natures, and Things: The Alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan and his Kitab
al-Ahjar (Book of Stones), by Syed Nomanul Haq, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic
Publishers, 1994.

Some of the early studies of Paul Kraus (in German) have been collected by Remy
Bragues and reissued.

I have written reviews of both books, which shall appear in due course in the
Journal of the American Oriental Society.

A tremendous amount of material remains in manuscript.

Tzvi Langermann

Subject: TEXTS - Islamic Alchemy
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 97 17:02:20 UT
From: Mike Dickman

John France

If you read French, there is Jabir ibn Hayyan, Dix trait'e d'alchimie: les dix
premiers Trait's du Livre des Soixante-dix published by SINBAD, 1 et 3 rue
Feutrier, 75018 Paris, which is well worth a look...

Regards,

Mike

Subject: TEXTS - Article on Chinese inner alchemy
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 12:06:48 -0600 (CST)
From: Adam McLean

Charles Hammond e-mailed me tday to tell me of his recently published article
on Chinese "inner alchemy" and fox spirits:

Charles Hammond, "Vulpine Alchemy," T'oung Pao 82 (1996), pp. 364-80.

Subject: TEXTS - Transmutation stories
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 16:18:49 -0500 (EST)
From: Ken Roche

This is more a story of transformation than transmutation but I've always
loved the alchemical theme of the story and the title. But I could argue
transmutation too so I'll just pass the suggestion along:

"A tree, a rock, a cloud" by ? [I'll find out and get it to you]. In a
nutshell: Someone has been severally wounded in love. So wounded that there
is a doubt that love can ever happen again. The redemption lies in starting
again from the beginning. You must learn to love again and you had to start
small and work your way up. You had to learn to love a tree, then a rock,
then a cloud. For love, you had to lift yourself up.

I could go either way. Transformation - transmutation. It would depend on
whether you thought the story was about people, or about love.

Joe

Subject: TEXTS - Islamic Alchemy
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 21:04:40 +0000
From: John France

Mike Dickman and Tzvi Langermann,

I hope this is not considered 'clutter', but I would like to offer my
thanks to Mike Dickman - I have a French friend who will help with your
suggestion; and also to thank Tzvi Langermann. I look forward to your
reviews, although I'm affraid the German author has the advantage - I am
virtually mono-lingual with just a smattering of French.

Tzvi - may I ask a favour? could you possibly email me when you know
your publication dates - I live in a tiny rural backwater in the UK and
access to the outside world is 'occasional' (on the selvage of the net,
as it were). My email address is:

johnfrance@sarmounia.demon.co.uk - many thanks.

John France

Subject: TEXTS - Mutus liber
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 17:27:32 -0600 (CST)
From:George Leake

>From: Adam McLean
>The 'Mutus liber' has been ascribed to Isaac Baulot because of the discovery
>of the signature 'Isaac Baulot' on an early manuscript copy of the 'Mutus
>liber' in Marsh's library in Dublin. Somewhere I have among my piles of
>papers a photocopy of an article on the discovery of the signature.

Adam--I know you did some work for Hermetic Sourceworks some 15 or so
years ago--weren't you involved in the editing of their edition of Mutus
Liber? In any case, I have seen further printings and editions of this in
various bookstores.

Speaking of texts--I tried--without success--to find the new edition of
Giordano Bruno's De Magia, in Italian, when I was in Europe recently. The
friend who asked me to look for it finally found it via the WWWeb at a
bookstore in Boston. But I looked all over Venice, Paris and London, but no
dice. Anyone have any ideas on the current status of this new edition?

One other tidbit--I had the good fortune to visit the Warburg Institute at
the University of London. I must say, they have quite an impressive
collection of alchemical texts. Any of you near London should take the time
to research there if you can.

George Leake

Subject: TEXTS - Alciato website
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 17:53:50 -0600 (CST)
From: George Leake

Just a quick note. Found a website you might be interested in:
http://www.mun.ca/alciato/

from the website itself:

Andrea Alciato's Emblematum liber or Book of Emblems had enormous
influence and popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a collection
of 212 Latin emblem poems, each consisting of a motto (a proverb or
other short enigmatic expression), a picture, and an epigrammatic text.

Alciato's book was first published in 1531, and was expanded in various
editions during the author's lifetime. It began a craze for emblem poetry
that lasted for several centuries. We use the Latin text and images from an
important edition of 1621 and we give a translation into English.

Subject: TEXTS - Transmutation stories
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 17:38:13 -0500 (EST)
From: Joe

The story title I posted recently: "A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud" was by Carson
McCullers and 1951 is the copyright on the version I have. I had a friend
look the story up today and get me a copy which I just reread. I hadn't read
it in 20 years. I found this in the "Questions for Discussion" part after the
story [it's a college literature text]: "Paul Engel, distinguished American
critic and poet, and editor of the annual O. Henry Awards anthology, Prize
Stories, has said that he considers 'A Tree, a Rock, A Cloud' 'the most
perfect short story in modern American literature.' All jokes aside about
"modern American literature" I might have to agree.

I'll hold off on any explication of the story and why I believe it has
an alchemical and transformative structure to see if there's any interest
(I'm a composition teacher and I tend to back away from the written word).
Still, it strikes me as a candidate for your collection. If I understand your
theme.

Joe

Subject: TEXTS - Bruno's De Magia
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 13:02:55 +1100 (EST)
From: Gionni Di Gravio

Dear George,

I picked up a copy of De Magia/De Vinculis at a bookshop in Florence.
Imprint 1991 I think. It consists of latin text with italian translation.
I can check up the publisher for you tonight and let you know tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Gionni Di Gravio

Subject: TEXTS - Transmutation stories
From: Jan Baecklund
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 13:32:32 CET

Just a short note concerning transmutation stories. The history of
the German war prisoner of the Swedish king Carl XII Otto Arnold v.
Paykull (executed in 1707) are mentioned - as far as I remember - in
Hutin's Transmutations alchimiques, and thus you of course know it
well, but I want anyway to call your attention to the publication of
a curioso named P. G. Berg, himself rather scornful to alchemy "and
its pretensions", but who in his: Svensk mystik. Innehallande
Anekdoter och historier om alkemister, astrologer, mystici ...
(Swedish mysticism. Containing anecdotes and histories on alchemists,
astrologers, mystici ...) Stockholm: P. G. Berg, 1871. 8:vo, [iv],
216 s. have some respectful and interesting accounts on the
transmutations of Paykull. The vindication of Paykull as being a real
"adeptus" by the chemist Urban Hjaerne and colonel Hamilton is, I
think, well known, but more interesting is that P. G. Berg states
that one of the coined medals of his transmuted gold were (and maybe
still is) to be seen at the Royal Cabinet of Coins Stockholm. Berg
states further, that Queen Lovisa Ulrika inherited (an other?)
coinage of Paykull's gold which she is said to have showed in 1767.
This medal was, according to her, made by her father, Friedrich
Wilhelm I of Preussen, after Paykulls own manuscripts. Also the
manuscripts are said to have been inherited by Lovisa; and if
so, they ought still be found in the Royal Library in Stockholm.

I think it for someone, sometimes, could be worth researching in the
State's archives and the Royal Library in Stockholm for primary
sources of this history, now I think (without ever reading it) that
all accounts (except Berg, but he never gives his sources for his
histories) bases on Urban Hjaerne: Actorum chemicorum holmiensium,
Stockholmiae: Laur. Salvii, 1753 [Ferguson I, 406-407; Duveen 296].

Jan Baecklund

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy Meeting Rome 1997
From: faliero@axrma.uniroma1.it (marino faliero)
Subject: Alchemy Meeting Rome 1997

"ALCHEMY AND MODERN SCIENCES. A QUARREL TO BE COMPOSE."

-2nd INTERNATIONAL MEETING-

ACCADEMIA DI STORIA DELL'ARTE SANITARIA

ROME, MAY, 10-11 1997

The Accademia di Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria in Rome announce his Second
International Meeting, with a call for papers in the area of Alchemy,
Chemistry and History of Science.
Papers on these topics are welcome, although all proposals are gladly
accepted ; graduate students in particular are encouraged to submit
proposals. Those interested in participating should sent a one-page
abstract of their proposed paper to the addresses below.
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 15 March 1997. You will be
notified if your paper has been
accepted for presentation by 1 April 1997.
Papers must be presented in Italian or English; Funding permitting, we
hope to publish as soon as possible all the articles presented at the
Conference. The Meeting' Site will be the Aula Magna of this Accademia. We
cordially invite also psychologists, physicians and artists to
participate.

**********

ACCADEMIA DI STORIA DELL'ARTE SANITARIA
Ente Morale R.D. 14 Maggio 1922 N.746

00193 Roma * Lungotevere in Sassia. 3

Tel. 06/6893051
Fax 06/6833485

E-mail asasce@mbox.vol.it

http://www.sameint.it/accade/idxacc.htm

Marino Faliero

Subject: TEXTS - Bruno's De Magia
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 97 21:12:51 UT
From: Mike Dickman

The publishing house Les Belles Lettres, 95 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, are -
amongst other things - slowly but surely doing a bilingual version of the
works of Bruno ('bilingual' in this instance meaning either Latin or
Italian/French).

Respectfully,

mike

Subject: TEXTS - Mutus liber
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 08:33:56 +0100
From: Michela Pereira

>From:George Leake

>Speaking of texts--I tried--without success--to find the new edition of
>Giordano Bruno's De Magia, in Italian, when I was in Europe recently. The
>friend who asked me to look for it finally found it via the WWWeb at a
>bookstore in Boston. But I looked all over Venice, Paris and London, but no
>dice. Anyone have any ideas on the current status of this new edition?

Dear George
I think the book you were looking for is the following:

Giordano Bruno, De Magia; De vinculis in genere, a cura di Albano Biondi (Il
Soggetto & la Scienza, collana diretta da Ettore Perrella), Edizioni
Biblioteca Dell'Immagine, Pordenone, 1986

It contains the Latin text with an Italian translation and an introduction
by A. Biondi; the address of the publisher is: Corso Vittorio Emanuele 37,
Pordenone. The book seems not to be available through normal channels (i.e.,
in bookstores), but the publisher might still have some copies of it.

Did you enjoy Italy?

Michela Pereira

Subject: TEXTS - Bruno's De Magia
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 08:31:34 -0600 (CST)
From: George Leake

>From: Mike Dickman
>The publishing house Les Belles Lettres, 95 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, are -
>amongst other things - slowly but surely doing a bilingual version of the
>works of Bruno ('bilingual' in this instance meaning either Latin or
>Italian/French).

Thanks Mike

My friend who found this on the Web sends me this:

I found it on Schoenhof's web catalog (http://www.schoenhofs.com). The
entry reads:

Bruno, G.
De Magia & De Vinculis in Genere.
Biblioteca dell' Immagine.
ISBN: X11350 $36.95

I dont have their e-mail address, but their FAX number is 617-547-8855.

George Leake

Subject: TEXTS - Mutus liber
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 10:09:27 -0600 (CST)
From: George Leake

>From: Michela Pereira
>I think the book you were looking for is the following:
>Giordano Bruno, De Magia; De vinculis in genere, a cura di Albano Biondi (Il
>Soggetto & la Scienza, collana diretta da Ettore Perrella), Edizioni
>Biblioteca Dell'Immagine, Pordenone, 1986
>It contains the Latin text with an Italian translation and an introduction
>by A. Biondi; the address of the publisher is: Corso Vittorio Emanuele 37,
>Pordenone. The book seems not to be available through normal channels (i.e.,
>in bookstores), but the publisher might still have some copies of it.

My friend who found it on the web sent me this:
I found it on Schoenhof's web catalog (http://www.schoenhofs.com). The
entry reads:

Bruno, G.
De Magia & De Vinculis in Genere.
Biblioteca dell' Immagine.
ISBN: X11350 $36.95

I dont have their e-mail address, but their FAX number is 617-547-8855.

>Did you enjoy Italy?

Indeed. Though we got a bit sick from that Siberian blast that tore
through Dec 27th. Too bad the younger generations everywhere seem to be
trying to dress and act like Americans...

George Leake

Subject: TEXTS - Bruno's De Magia
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:47:21 +1100 (EST)
From: Gionni Di Gravio

De Magia
De Vinculis in genere

Latin/Italian A cura di Albano Biondi
Edizioni Biblioteca dell'Immagine
c1986 4th Printing 1991

Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 37-Pordenone

It is part of a series entitled
"Il Soggetto and la Scienza"
collana diretta da Ettore Perrella

Direzione editoriale e redazione
via San Pietro, 74-Padova

Hope this helps,

Sincerely,
Gionni Di Gravio

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 00:13:15 +100
From: Vladimir Georgiev

Hello everyone:

I am a Bulgarian monk and lecturer on research in Hungary. Can somebody
provide information on the relation between ancient Gnosticism and Alchemy
(outside Jung)? Please quote.

Thank you in advance.

Yours,

Vlado.

Vladimir Georgiev

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 97 09:33:55 UT
From: Mike Dickman

Vlado,

Hi! - If you read French, an interesting place to start might be Jean-François
Gibert, Propos sur le Chrysopée, published by Dervy Livres, 130 bvd.
St-Germain, 75006 Paris, especially the last section.

Hope it helps!

Respectfully,
Mike Dickman

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 09:38:31 -0600 (CST)
From: George Leake

>From: Vladimir Georgiev
>I am a Bulgarian monk and lecturer on research in Hungary. Can somebody
>provide information on the relation between ancient Gnosticism and Alchemy
>(outside Jung)? Please quote.

I would imagine anything by Frances Yates might be of help. Do you
want/need specific citations? Do you have access to a major library?

George Leake

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
From: Vladimir Georgiev
Subject: Re: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis

Dear Mike,

> Hi! - If you read French, an interesting place to start might be Jean-Francois
> Gibert, Propos sur le Chrysopee, published by Dervy Livres, 130 bvd.
> St-Germain, 75006 Paris, especially the last section.

Thanks for the valuable information. By the way, when this book was
published, which pages are covered by the last section, what is its
title and is Gibert a modern or ancient author?

Yours,

Vlado.
vladimir Georgiev

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
From: Vladimir Georgiev
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 21:13:14 +100

> I would imagine anything by Frances Yates might be of help. Do you
> want/need specific citations? Do you have access to a major library?
> George Leake

I would appreciate any information, especially if it is properly
quoted. Budapest libraries are not the most formidable in the world
and their staff is hardly of help because they refuse to speak any foreign
language.

Thank you in advance.

Yours:

Vlado.
vladimir Georgiev

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 97 19:05:10 UT
From: Mike Dickman

Vlado

Hi again!
The book was published in 1995 and the sections dealing directly with gnosis,
gnosticism and alchemy run from p 209 to 269.
Gibert is a modern, and quite aggressive in tone, but he certainly knows what
he is talking about on more than one score... He's also quite FUNNY, which is
a welcome change in a field that often takes itself a little too seriously...

Hope this helps.

Respectfully,

mike

Subject: TEXTS - New History of Chemistry List
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 15:52:28 +100

A new mail distribution list has been set up to carry information and
discussion related to the history of chemistry.

The list is supported by the Chemical Heritage Foundation in
Philadelphia, the Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History
and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Jerusalem, and
by the German Chemical Society's History Division.

To take off ground new mailing lists need getting known and being
used. Please forward this message to colleagues interested in the
history of chemistry and chemical industry, and please use it to let
people know what's going on in our field.

To join send mail to

MAISER@LISTSERV.NGATE.UNI-REGENSBURG.DE
with nothing but the following command in the body of your message:
subscribe CHEM-HIST

If you have any problems, then please contact me off-list at the
address given in the signature.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Lehrstuhl fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Universitaet Regensburg
D-93040 Regensburg

Christoph.Meinel@psk.uni-regensburg.de

http://www.uni-regensburg.de/Fakultaeten/phil_Fak_I/Philosophie/Wissenschaft
sgeschichte/

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 1997 13:07:17 -0600 (CST)
From: George Leake

>> I would imagine anything by Frances Yates might be of help. Do you
>> want/need specific citations? Do you have access to a major library?
>From: Vladimir Georgiev
>I would appreciate any information, especially if it is properly
>quoted.

Are you proposing one of us transcribe her work here?

>Budapest libraries are not the most formidable in the world
>and their staff is hardly of help because they refuse to speak any foreign
>language.

I certainly understand. So what you're saying is you've searched your
local libraries and bookstores and you cannot find any Frances Yates
material?

George Leake

Subject: TEXTS - Alchemy and Gnosis
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 13:51:39 +0100
From: Michal Pober

>>From: Vladimir Georgiev
>>I would appreciate any information, especially if it is properly
>>quoted.
>>Budapest libraries are not the most formidable in the world
>>and their staff is hardly of help because they refuse to speak any foreign
>>language.

>I certainly understand. So what you're saying is you've searched your
>local libraries and bookstores and you cannot find any Frances Yates
>material?
>George Leake

Excuse me butting in, but perhaps to defuse a cross-cultural
misunderstanding, I'm understanding Vladimir to be asking for what George
is calling the citations, as clearly cited as possible, because the
Budapest librarians are not too hot at tracking foreign language books.

If I've got this wrong and only created greater confusion, please accept my
apologies.

best wishes,
Michal