The encyclopedia of magic and alchemy / Rosemary Ellen Guiley. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN (hc: alk. paper). 1. The encyclopedia of magic and alchemy / Rosemary Ellen Guiley. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN Grade 9 Up—This user-friendly, comprehensive, and informative resource traces the history of Western magic and alchemy, from their origins in ancient Egypt to.
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By Rosemary Ellen Guiley. With greater than entries, this paintings serves as a connection with the historical past of the Western magical. Magic and Alchemy - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read His works are known from an encyclopedia-like compendium of 28 alchemical texts. the encyclopedia of magic and alchemy (pdf) by rosemary ellen guiley (ebook) pages: Boyle in moldm3 cations and, all subdisciplines of something art.
The discovery that aqua regia , a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids, could dissolve the noblest metal, gold, was to fuel the imagination of alchemists for the next millennium. Islamic philosophers also made great contributions to alchemical hermeticism.
The most influential author in this regard was arguably Jabir. Jabir's ultimate goal was Takwin , the artificial creation of life in the alchemical laboratory, up to, and including, human life. He analyzed each Aristotelian element in terms of four basic qualities of hotness, coldness, dryness, and moistness. For example, lead was externally cold and dry, while gold was hot and moist. Thus, Jabir theorized, by rearranging the qualities of one metal, a different metal would result.
Jabir developed an elaborate numerology whereby the root letters of a substance's name in Arabic, when treated with various transformations, held correspondences to the element's physical properties. The elemental system used in medieval alchemy also originated with Jabir.
His original system consisted of seven elements, which included the five classical elements aether , air , earth , fire , and water in addition to two chemical elements representing the metals: sulphur , "the stone which burns", which characterized the principle of combustibility, and mercury , which contained the idealized principle of metallic properties.
Shortly thereafter, this evolved into eight elements, with the Arabic concept of the three metallic principles: sulphur giving flammability or combustion, mercury giving volatility and stability, and salt giving solidity. In particular, they wrote refutations against the idea of the transmutation of metals. Main article: Chinese alchemy Taoist alchemists often use this alternate version of the taijitu. Whereas European alchemy eventually centered on the transmutation of base metals into noble metals, Chinese alchemy had a more obvious connection to medicine.
The philosopher's stone of European alchemists can be compared to the Grand Elixir of Immortality sought by Chinese alchemists. However, in the hermetic view, these two goals were not unconnected, and the philosopher's stone was often equated with the universal panacea ; therefore, the two traditions may have had more in common than initially appears. Black powder may have been an important invention of Chinese alchemists. As previously stated above, Chinese alchemy was more related to medicine.
It is said that the Chinese invented gunpowder while trying to find a potion for eternal life. Described in 9th-century texts[ citation needed ] and used in fireworks in China by the 10th century,[ citation needed ] it was used in cannons by Gunpowder was used by the Mongols against the Hungarians in , and in Europe by the 14th century.
Chinese alchemy was closely connected to Taoist forms of traditional Chinese medicine , such as Acupuncture and Moxibustion. In the early Song dynasty , followers of this Taoist idea chiefly the elite and upper class would ingest mercuric sulfide , which, though tolerable in low levels, led many to suicide. The Alchemist in Search of the Philosopher's Stone , by Joseph Wright, "An illuminated page from a book on alchemical processes and receipts", ca.
The introduction of alchemy to Latin Europe may be dated to 11 February , with the completion of Robert of Chester 's translation of the Arabic Book of the Composition of Alchemy. Although European craftsmen and technicians preexisted, Robert notes in his preface that alchemy was unknown in Latin Europe at the time of his writing. The translation of Arabic texts concerning numerous disciplines including alchemy flourished in 12th-century Toledo, Spain , through contributors like Gerard of Cremona and Adelard of Bath.
These brought with them many new words to the European vocabulary for which there was no previous Latin equivalent.
Alcohol, carboy, elixir, and athanor are examples. In the early 12th century, Peter Abelard followed Anselm's work, laying down the foundation for acceptance of Aristotelian thought before the first works of Aristotle had reached the West. In the early 13th century, Robert Grosseteste used Abelard's methods of analysis and added the use of observation, experimentation, and conclusions when conducting scientific investigations. Grosseteste also did much work to reconcile Platonic and Aristotelian thinking.
The efforts of the translators were succeeded by that of the encyclopaedists. In the 13th century, Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon were the most notable of these, their work summarizing and explaining the newly imported alchemical knowledge in Aristotelian terms. Albertus critically compared these to the writings of Aristotle and Avicenna, where they concerned the transmutation of metals.
From the time shortly after his death through to the 15th century, more than 28 alchemical tracts were misattributed to him, a common practice giving rise to his reputation as an accomplished alchemist.
Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar who wrote on a wide variety of topics including optics , comparative linguistics , and medicine, composed his Great Work Latin : Opus Majus for Pope Clement IV as part of a project towards rebuilding the medieval university curriculum to include the new learning of his time.
While alchemy was not more important to him than other sciences and he did not produce allegorical works on the topic, he did consider it and astrology to be important parts of both natural philosophy and theology and his contributions advanced alchemy's connections to soteriology and Christian theology. Bacon's writings integrated morality, salvation, alchemy, and the prolongation of life. His correspondence with Clement highlighted this, noting the importance of alchemy to the papacy.
He noted that the theoretical lay outside the scope of Aristotle, the natural philosophers, and all Latin writers of his time. The practical, however, confirmed the theoretical thought experiment, and Bacon advocated its uses in natural science and medicine. In particular, along with Albertus Magnus, he was credited with the forging of a brazen head capable of answering its owner's questions.
Soon after Bacon, the influential work of Pseudo-Geber sometimes identified as Paul of Taranto appeared. His Summa Perfectionis remained a staple summary of alchemical practice and theory through the medieval and renaissance periods. It was notable for its inclusion of practical chemical operations alongside sulphur-mercury theory, and the unusual clarity with which they were described.
Adepts believed in the macrocosm-microcosm theories of Hermes, that is to say, they believed that processes that affect minerals and other substances could have an effect on the human body for example, if one could learn the secret of purifying gold, one could use the technique to purify the human soul. They believed in the four elements and the four qualities as described above, and they had a strong tradition of cloaking their written ideas in a labyrinth of coded jargon set with traps to mislead the uninitiated.
Finally, the alchemists practiced their art: they actively experimented with chemicals and made observations and theories about how the universe operated. Their entire philosophy revolved around their belief that man's soul was divided within himself after the fall of Adam.
By purifying the two parts of man's soul, man could be reunited with God. Alchemical discourse shifted from scholarly philosophical debate to an exposed social commentary on the alchemists themselves. Pope John XXII 's edict, Spondent quas non exhibent forbade the false promises of transmutation made by pseudo-alchemists.
These critiques and regulations centered more around pseudo-alchemical charlatanism than the actual study of alchemy, which continued with an increasingly Christian tone. The 14th century saw the Christian imagery of death and resurrection employed in the alchemical texts of Petrus Bonus , John of Rupescissa , and in works written in the name of Raymond Lull and Arnold of Villanova. Although the historical Flamel existed, the writings and legends assigned to him only appeared in His work spends a great deal of time describing the processes and reactions, but never actually gives the formula for carrying out the transmutations.
Most of 'his' work was aimed at gathering alchemical knowledge that had existed before him, especially as regarded the philosopher's stone. Bernard Trevisan and George Ripley made similar contributions. Their cryptic allusions and symbolism led to wide variations in interpretation of the art. Babylonians could make an image of the demon and destroy it or let it drift away on the river in a small boat.
Humans were asked to come to the aid of Ahura Mazda by promoting good. If all went well the gods would send a guardian spirit to help.
Like the Egyptians. This led to a complex system of correspondences that influenced magic rituals. Babylonians could protect themselves from demons by wearing talismans sculpted in the likeness of a god. He is thought to have lived in the sixth century b. The spirits were something like a guardian angel. He viewed the world as an arena of battle between two gods: Ahura Mazda. These were made of the proper stone and attached with the appropriate-colored thread.
Known as the Achaemenid Empire. Ahura Mazda commanded six archangels. Once the favor of the gods was established. Lesser angels were given other duties. In the sixth century b.
The Babylonians were not the only people to think this way. The Babylonian creation story is called the Enuma Elish.
Emanation is the belief that the creation of the world took place in stages. It took the form of an epic poem that would be recited aloud every year at The Wise King Solomon ccording to legend. In the Bible Solomon is noted for his wisdom but in the Islamic Koran he is also noted for his magical powers. The Koran says Solomon ruled people and spirits alike. The first is the concept of emanation. It is believed that the signet or Seal of Solomon on his ring was a six-pointed star enclosed in a circle.
The Babylonians. He split her corpse in two and from the halves created the two parts of the world. Ea killed his great-great grandfather. In the beginning the goddess Tiamat. It also recounts how the world evolved into its present state through a process of seven emanations as the gods gave birth to one another. From the summit of the ziggurat. A struggle for domination began in which Tiamat with her new consort. From Lahamu emerged Kishar. She represented the messy chaotic state that existed before the gods imposed order and harmony on the world.
Kishar gave birth to the god Anu. On the seventh day of the Enuma Elish. The newcomers. The j. Marduk was made the king of the gods. She gave birth to Lahmu and Lahamu. Marduk put the world in order and gave the gods their duties. This battle ended when Marduk killed Tiamat.
Tiamat was a dragon-like primitive creature. Many scholars agree that the Bible story is based on the older Babylonian myth. The Enuma Elish recounts how the world was created in seven days by the Babylonian gods. In turn. In the. This practice led to the development of astrology and the discovery of the seven planets. The Babylonians and their predecessors spent a lot of time observing the sky for messages from the gods. This was because from Earth. To the ancient Babylonians and the people whom they influenced.
It plays an important part in the creation in the Enuma Elish and in the Bible. There are actually eight planets in the solar system. The menorah in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem was said to symbolize the burning bush but its seven oil lamps also symbolized the seven days of creation. How this number came to be so important has to do with the sky. The path they follow is called the ecliptic. With the naked eye. To all ancient peoples. It is because of these creation stories that there are seven days in the week and the world is still said to have seven continents and seven seas.
The Sun and the Moon were included in the list but the Earth was not. Groups of stars that form patterns that suggest familiar shapes or images are called constellations. In Greek they were called planetes. The constellations move as a unit through the sky.
Some of these wanderers even occasionally move west to east against the current. The stars in the night sky have their positions fixed in relation to each other. Against this canopy of fixed lights there are other. There used to be nine. Wikimedia Commons. From ancient accounts and from studies of other pyramids it is believed to have been a step pyramid made of brick. It had seven steps.
This evidence includes that its name meant the gateway or stairway to heaven. Through a complex system of correspondences between the planets and colors. Ancient peoples considered these seven. It is likely. At each planet the god of that sphere clothes the soul in certain qualities that become its personality. It was in ruins by the time ancient Greek visitors wrote about it. One of the most impressive magical objects to do this was the great ziggurat at Babylon.
The Babylonians considered them gods. The Etemenanki was said to have been created by the gods and was central to the events told in the Enuma Elish. The astrological natal chart is an attempt to map that process. Astrology is based on the idea that the soul departs from heaven. Other evidence suggests that the seven steps were also related to the seven gods of the planets and that the color of each step was chosen because of its magical correspondence with each planet. This was considered a temple to Marduk and called the etemenanki.
He also saw a connection between music and numerical order. Pythagoras was the first person to call himself a philosopher. In the ancient world he was spoken of with reverence and awe. It was said that he had a golden thigh. Figure 2. Pythagoras was a great mathematician who is credited with the geometric theorem that determined that the square of the hypotenuse the long side with two sharper angles of a right triangle is equal in area to the squares of the other two sides added together.
By performing a ritual based on the myth of a god or hero the participants in the mysteries would have a transformative mystical experience that would assure them of life after death.
He was. As in the story of Isis. The Greek Mysteries were a major influence on the Western practice of white magic. The Etemenanki then would have become a symbol of the personal astrological ladder of emanations. One of first groups of magicians to be influenced was the mystical school of philosophy founded by Pythagoras c. To climb up it would be a symbolic reversal of the descent into the world of matter: The oldest mystery cult was based on the myth of the hero Orpheus.
The gReekS In the world of the ancient Greeks. The Tetractys expressed the. To represent the numerical intelligence of the universe. This symbol was called the Tetractys.
Many believed he was a god or at least an enlightened master. Place places at one time. The seven steps on the temple are probably related to the seven days of creation or the seven emanations of the Enuma Elish.
Many classes of symbolism can be attached to the Tetractys. This was a state of being connected to the universe and to the part of an individual that is permanent and beyond the reaches of death.
This provides a two-dimensional plane. The base has four points. This is the beginning of physical reality. The most important aspect of this symbol to the mystic was that it could be used as a meditative tool.
With this theme the single dot at the top depicts the point. The second layer has two points. Although a line has length it has no depth and cannot be perceived any easier than the point. One of the most basic is a geometrical progression. Like the ziggurat the Tetractys had seven layers. Pythagoras believed that the seven notes captured the sound of each of the seven planets—the music of the spheres—and he used the seven vowels of the Greek alphabet to denote them.
Besides its Egyptian inhabitants. Together with the four physical layers. Because of its position on the delta. They describe numerically the vibrations of the three essential notes in the music scale: Greek language and learning were the elements that united these populations. It retained this claim until it became part of the Roman Empire at the death of the last Ptolemaic ruler.
Egyptian and Jewish culture merged with Greek to become one Hellenistic culture. Alexandria became the capital. To fill out the musical scale Pythagoras devised four other notes and created the Western diatonic scale with seven notes.
After this it lost its position as the largest city to Rome but it was still the world center of commerce and learning. Cleopatra VII. Alexandria was a major port and it soon became the largest. In this cultural melting pot the mystical Egyptian god Thoth. Many of the Hermetic texts were focused on alchemy and astrology. This is a modern classification for groups of ancient mystics who sought a higher state of consciousness. In Greek. These groups include Hermeticists and Jewish Essenes but the term is primarily used to refer to early Christian seekers.
The Kabalah influenced the Christian mystic Ramon Llull — This ancient science synthesized Hermetic mysticism with chemical experimentation. This Jewish mystical tradition emerged in the twelfth century in Spain but was based on earlier teachings. Christian Gnosticism maintains a negative view of the physical world and attempts to free the soul from the prison of the body and its physical restraints.
In the Egyptian texts the name. Alchemy is the precursor of modern physics. This is the philosophy followed by a group of Hellenistic mystics and their heirs who sought enlightenment or gnosis through the teachings of the mythical sage Hermes Trismegistus. This is in contrast to science. The ascetic Hasan al Basri — or is considered the first to inspire this teaching.
This term describes various Christian ascetic traditions that sought a personal vision of God and made use of Neoplatonic ideas. The first Neoplationists were the Hellenistic philosopher Plotinus —70 and his teacher Ammonius Saccas third century. Mystical Christianity has been part of the religion from its beginning in the first century. Francis of Assisi or — Notable Christian mystics are Ramon Llull — They were influential in medieval Spain.
This Islamic mystical tradition has been part of the religion from its beginning in the seventh century. Sufis merged Neoplatonic and Hermetic ideas with Islamic teachings. The term is most often applied to the initiates of secret magical societies that began to emerge in Western Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It also revived interest in the Pythagorean school. This group of Western mystical philosophies emerged in the first centuries after Christ and synthesized Platonic philosophy with Hermeticism and other mystical philosophies.
Meister Eckhart c. Although it was written in the first centuries after the birth of Christ. When they wrote. The philosophic texts were gathered in a collection of 20 texts and collectively called the Hermetica. This same word was used by other mystical seekers at that time. It described how humans are at heart spiritual beings. In the Hermetica the word gnosis.
In recognition of this fact. Some may have even believed that they were re-creating the ancient Book of Thoth. These works became known as the Hermetic texts and included works on alchemy. Through the attainment of gnosis. This practice leads to gnosis and the realization that one is made of spirit and light. They believed that the Hermetica was a textbook that taught this procedure.
To guide its readers the Hermetica used the mystical astrological worldview discussed in this chapter. To find their way back. To the Hermeticists. In scientific reasoning. This is in contrast with the modern scientific.
The physical world was believed to be made of four physical elements: To the Hermeticist. To the Hermeticist it is evident that they are connected. The skill at focusing the imagination is gained through the practice of meditation.
This is the Hermetic view that there is more than a symbolic connection between celestial and terrestrial objects or the Macrocosm and Microcosm. The elements would scatter. It takes one out of reality. There are seven basic concepts that make up this view.
Without imagination the soul is not perceptible. It is the door for entering the reality of the soul. The mind. This is often stated as. Modern science is based on the assumption that there is no connection between the mind and physical reality. As the initiates in the mysteries were sworn to secrecy. To the Hermeticist the world is alive and the goal of all life is to grow and change to become a new and better being.
Spiritual truth is gained through transmission or initiation: This idea stems from the ancient mystery tradition in which one received gnosis by undergoing a ritual initiation. In its simplest form. In its most sophisticated form. The Perennial Philosophy: This is the belief that all cultures and religions share common traits or patterns.
The emanations are a spiritual ladder composed of stages or rungs that a magician can make use of to ascend to this goal. The magician can use correspondences to harness the celestial powers in his or her ritual. Lead can be turned into gold and a common man into a sage. Kelley held a torch overhead so that John could read the elaborate invocation.
John Dee was an astronomer. This later influenced Ian Fleming. Some claimed that he was her personal magician. He made friends with Edward Kelley. As the ghost was summoned she stood before them outside of the protective circle. One night. This included learning what he called their Enochian language. John had on his clean black robe and was holding his three-foot wand.
Her dress was white and transparent. Actual witch burnings and other executions did not heat up until and continued until the early s. The practice of magic.
This period falls firmly in the Renaissance and surprisingly coincides with a revitalization of Hermeticism and the development of modern science.
The evidence from trials shows that. Even before Christianity. In fact. This swing back and forth in attitude and the law continued through the Middle Ages. They were not executed. In But the church was not concerned with witchcraft during most of the Middle Ages. Under Roman law black magic was outlawed but white magic was tolerated and this practice continued under Constantine — The Middle Ages is often portrayed in popular fiction as a time when witch hunters were busy burning women for practicing folk magic or for healing their neighbors with herbs.
It is doubtful that the witch trials had much to do with magic. Kabalah is a mystical or magical Jewish tradition that developed in Spain and southern France in the twelfth century. Besides this. This was written between the second and the seventh centuries c. Many apocryphal texts were concerned with protection from demons. The ancient Romans accused Christians of performing obscene rituals where they ate babies. It seems that they incorporated certain aspects of Hellenistic and Pythagorean mystical philosophy and synthesized this with their biblical heritage and the sacred texts that were written outside of the Bible.
Like the Hermetica. Some of. Throughout history these same types of wild accusations were directed toward unpopular religious groups or political rivals. At that time two influential books were written explaining its philosophy and principles: The Kabalah does. It can be transliterated as Kabala. The diagram consists of 10 energized centers or circles. In the twelfth century Jewish mystics used gematria in their meditations to find the secret names of God. In heaven they found a similar layered structure leading up to the throne of God in Seventh Heaven.
In Hebrew each letter also serves as a number. Ten names or qualities of God were discovered and these were assigned to the 10 sephiroth on the Tree of Life.
In the Sepher Yetzirah. The names Enoch. Enoch became a model and guide for Jewish mystics. The sephiroth served as emanations in the creation of the world. As in the Hermetic practice. They hoped to use these empowered names in their magical assent to heaven and to attain gnosis. As this is similar to the Hermetic meditation on the seven planets and as Hermes was the model and guide for that ascent.
Because of this feat. These qualities can be translated into English as: In the kabalistic practice called gematria. Ramon came to admire the mystical teaching of the Islamic Sufis and the Jewish kabalists. As one meditated on each letter in this system. Growing up in Majorca. His emanations were: He developed his own system called the ars Magna. The planetary correlations are listed beside each sephiroth. Pico believed that the Kabalah contained a lost divine revelation.
Merlin the magician. In Occult Philosophy. It was there that the famous magician Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa — During the Renaissance. His influence spread to Germany where Johannes Reuchlin — published two books on the Kabalah in the early sixteenth century. Pico synthesized the Kabalah with Hermeticism and Christianity and presented it to the intellectuals of the Renaissance.
Christian interest in the Kabalah was revived by the Neoplatonist Pico della Mirandola — This was a mystical key that underlaid the teachings of the Orphics.
It is interesting to note that Llull was also the first author of a medieval romance. After this. In Ficino received a Greek text of the Hermetica. Agrippa made use of kabalistic divine names in his magic invocations and synthesized the Kabalah with Hermeticism and Neoplationism. Pico studied the Kabalah with a friend who had converted from Judaism to Christianity and published kabalistic texts translated into Latin. Pico was friends with the famous Renaissance Neoplatonist Marsilio Ficino — In the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Ramon Llull Besides being used for finding the secret names of God. Ceremonial magicians craved this knowledge. He also has the feet of a goose and a snake for a tail. As depicted. These kabalistic texts in turn were influenced by the Greek Magical Papyri. As magicians never knew if they would be persecuted for their practice.
Another An Ancient Demon S ome of the angels and demons summoned by magicians in the Renaissance had ancient roots. The most popular medieval grimoire was The Key of Solomon. In Hebrew demonology he was known as Ashmadai. The oldest ones seem to be based on kabalistic grimoires. In some depictions. The Christians called him Asmodeus. If one addresses him properly he will provide a beautiful ring. The Zoroastrians gave the name Aeshma Daeva to the sixth archdemon under Ahriman.
The grimoires. As a result it is hard to determine when they first appeared. To accomplish the goal the magician will enlist spiritual aid by summoning a spirit. Choosing a time: The best time is usually at night when spirits are more active. Besides praying and focusing the mind on the object of the ritual for weeks before beginning. The grimoires provided the most complete description of magical preparation and practice since the ancient Egyptian texts.
Preparing the place: The most important aspect of preparation is the drawing of a magic circle that the magician will stand in. Choosing a place: The best place for a magic ritual is one where spirits reside.
This is called necromancy. The magician may also use astrology to determine the best day and hour to assure the success of the ritual. Preparation of the magician: Preparation includes the training of the mind through meditation and prayer.
It is often classed as a type of divination because the dead were said to have knowledge of the future. A magician may also summon the spirit of a person who has died. Here is a list of the types of instructions often found in a grimoire: Ceremonial magic can be used to accomplish many things. Of course in the highest form of magic the ultimate goal is to become enlightened. A magician soiled in his or her mind or body is inviting demonic invasion.
One of the most common protections to be included on the rim is the four-letter name of God in Hebrew. Sefer Yetzirah [Sixth-century copy] Although it is circular.
The 12 letters in the outer circle represent the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The three letters outside of the corners of the triangle represents the elements air. It is drawn on the floor or the ground and meant to protect the magician during the ritual. The seven letters in the next circle represent the seven planets.
This example of a magic square. Like all ritual tools. As with. Eliphas Levi. The magician most often wore a clean white robe for the ritual. Other tools can include a magic wand. Manly P. The Secret Teachings of All Ages . The next chapter looks at what alchemists were doing during the centuries that led up to this period. When properly pronounced a spirit cannot resist being summoned by name.
An important part of the incantation is knowledge of the name of the spirit being summoned. The magical synthesis that was created in the sixteenth century included Kabalah. Magicians believe that there is a magical connection between any being and its name. If asked to give a meaning for the word. He had also had many false starts over the years in which all of his expenses and his work had achieved nothing.
This was the sign he was looking for. This time. One thing that they could all agree on. Alchemists believed that transmutation was possible and made it the main focus of their work. He had spent most of his inheritance in this effort. Transmutation is an event in which one substance is changed into another. As he stood looking at his work. Although some alchemists treated it that way.
Joseph Wright. Alchemical theories also stem from the ancient Greeks. Embalming rituals. Egyptian religion evolved out of a shamanistic prehistoric past. Western alchemy emerged out of Egypt. It is not clear if the stone could also transform the alchemist to his or her highest state or if it was the Great Work itself that accomplished this.
The Pythagorean philosopher Empedocles — b. Among these were the techniques for separating metals from ore. The body was dismembered.
It could cure any illness. Some alchemical texts focus on creating the stone through lab work. It was placed in a coffin. Now each of the four elements had a shared quality that allowed the elements to transform into one another. These recipes call for adding small amounts of gold to other metals to make a product that appears to be all gold. They are texts on metallurgy. Alchemists believed that all metals were of one substance but in various states of purity.
In the Hellenistic period in Alexandria. Greek culture and philosophy came into contact with Egyptian mystical religion and magic. It was the Hermetic texts. Modern scholars regard Zosimos.
One could say that this mixture was the beginning of what we know as alchemy in the West. The alchemist. The basic principles of Hermeticism listed in Chapter 2 apply equally to alchemy. The transformation of lead to gold was considered a natural process that happened in the ground.
Later Plato added the four qualities to this theory and assigned two to each element: To the early alchemists color was the most important characteristic of metal.
The earliest extant alchemical manuscripts are Egyptian papyruses from Alexandria. His works are known from an encyclopedia-like compendium of 28 alchemical texts. Place it was natural that they would look for color changes to mark the stages of their work. Wherever they encountered it. By the eighth and ninth centuries. Arabs were quick to learn the philosophical science.
Zosimos followed his dreams and visions in his search for the basic material of the universe. In it she tells him the secret of making gold and silver. The eighth century Arabian alchemist. Jabir ibn Hayyan circa — By the eighth century the Nestorians.
Another early alchemical work. Sufis incorporated many. Like all alchemists. Syriae texts were translated into Arabic. In the fifth century they had broken from the Orthodox Church and emigrated east. He conceived of the idea of the god-man.
This mystical element of alchemy combined with the metallurgical recipes made for an exotic combination. He attached great importance to the numbers 1. He said that all metals seemed to contain a balance of the four qualities.
Like all mystics. Jabir also infused a great deal of mystical number symbolism into alchemy. Jabir developed a theory that became common to all subsequent alchemical texts. Michael Maier. It is. Mohammed ibn Zakariya al-Razi — Mohammed ibn Umail. Due to this influx. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He recorded. With the help of Jews.
John opened communication with the East on the island of Rhodes. By the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Spain became a cultural melting pot. Parallel to this technical contribution. In these areas Jewish and other scholars began to translate Arabic and Greek texts into Latin.
One of the first of these texts was the Book of the Composition of Alchemy. During the Crusades. It is believed that the Knights Templar were among the first Westerners to be acquainted with alchemy. Behind Hermes in this engraving a phoenix is reborn from a fire.
Johann Daniel Mylius. Antidotarium . The vivid. Since no two alchemists experienced exactly the same dreams and visions. Parallel with the study of alchemy in the West there was an interest in mystical symbolic art that was influenced by Egyptian art and hieroglyphs.
This substance was called by various names. The Hieroglyphica was translated into Latin. In a Greek book called the Hieroglyphica. It was actually an ancient Greek text. The alchemical process came to be called the Magnum Opus or the Great Work. To find it. These were created by prominent artists.
Because the ancient Greeks were unable to read them. The Magnum Opus was the search for the elusive. This was a lengthy and difficult process of trial and error. It was a major influence in developing the Renaissance trend for symbolic engravings called emblems or hieroglyphs.
The Book of Abraham the Jew. The couple was reported to have been seen at the Paris Opera in This is especially evident in the story of the fourteenth century Parisian alchemist Nicholas Flamel. They wanted to achieve immortality by not actually dying. According to legend. He carefully copied them and showed his copies to anyone who came into his bookshop. With the help of his wife.
Although they struggled for 25 years. It was the puzzling symbolic illustrations. In Nicholas bought a rare. In the end. They also helped the poor. After their success. There by luck or grace. In their will they left numerous houses as well as money for the benefit of the homeless. After Paracelsus it became more and more the primary objective of alchemy.
In the eighteenth century. Solely materialistic alchemists were called puffers because of their impatient use of the bellows to keep the fire hot and speed up the process. Paracelsus — He went on. It received the deathblow from the chemist Antoine Lavoisier — when he discovered that air contained an irreducible component which he labeled oxygine. These charlatans caused alchemy to fall into disrepute.
He created non-herbal medicines. The students of Paracelsus tended to split in two directions: Lavoisier changed the definition of the term element to mean one of these irreducible components instead of the classical four.
The spiritual quest had been part of alchemy since ancient times. These alchemists wanted to separate themselves from those who were interested in alchemy only as a means to wealth. Besides puffers. The pommel contains the alchemical elixir called Zoth or Azoth. Although these men contributed greatly to. Astronomica et Astrologica Opuscula  to develop modern chemical terminology. Isaac Newton — Many people find alchemy a daunting and confusing subject. On several occasions it was an illustration that seemed to open an inner door in his mind and allowed him to travel to a spiritual dimension.
Once there. The Rosarium Philosophorum the Rosary of the Philosophers. To Franz alchemy was a meditative practice. Some of his favorites were the Turba Philosophorum Assembly of Philosophers. He would sit for hours in his study reading his books. Most of the books were in Latin. What he did have was a large collection of books.
Often the same symbol has a different meaning from one text to another. Descriptions of the alchemical process. Turba Philosophorum  derived from unique visions. In this raw state. The following topics are in numerical order. Although it is confusing. If Materia Prima is used in this way. It was also known as the Anima Mundi the world soul. Evidence of this structure is in the following quote from an alchemical text called Rosarium Philosophorum: Make a round circle out of the man and woman.
In its primal state before creation. On top of this. These evolved over the centuries but remained framed by a mystical. The polarities are always masculine and feminine pairs.
These pairs are listed in masculine and feminine columns in Table 5. Gold and Silver. Sun and Moon. It is the division of the Unus Mundus into opposite pairs of polarities. Alchemists identified numerous symbolic pairs of opposites that need to be combined and transformed in the Great Work. The alchemical Great Work. These labels should not be confused. It shows that although to our senses things seem to be separate from one another.
By connecting that concept to the Anima Mundi. The fact that these masculine and feminine pairs attract each other was considered a divine gift in that this allowed them to recombine and return to unity. As the first two were thought of as operating in j table 5. When Sulphur and Mercury were combined with earth in various levels of purity and impurity the seven metals were formed. The relationship between these triplicities can be seen in Table 5. These three were thought of as the body.
In both ancient Egyptian and classical philosophy these three aspects of a human were each thought to have a governing soul. Ordered from the bottom up and from the densest to the most active.
In the works of the famous Greek philosopher Plato — b. The fouRfold WoRld The alchemists believed that everything in the sublunar world. The Egyptians called these three parts the Ka. Alchemical symbols for the elements are shown in the corners of the center diamond. The fourth century b. They believed that health was attained through the proper balance of these humors. Place they are: They also believed that an excess of any humor led to.
Alchemists also related the four qualities and elements to four liquid qualities in the body called humors: The origin of this theory is credited to the ancient Pythagorean philosopher Empedocles — b. The white star in the center represents the Quinta Essentia. Two of each of these qualities were shared by each element. Because of the Great Work. Irritable Spring Sanguine Courageous.
Next the substance was separated again. The Great Work consisted of separation of the Primary Material into separate masculine and feminine parts that were joined in what was called the lesser conjunction. This process brought the substance back to life in a spiritual form.