Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks
This series, currently amounting to fifty titles, was begun in 1979 and continues today. It is without doubt the most significant alchemical/hermetic publishing venture in our age. It has published English editions of many of the key works of alchemical symbolism. The editor, Adam McLean, has an especial interest in symbolic and allegorical material and this is reflected in the works he has chosen to edit or have translated into English. The books are published in small editions signed and numbered. Some of these, especially the pre-2000 publications, are now out of print and this means that they have become collectors items fetching high prices on the secondary market. The material is of the highest quality. From 2000 McLean decided to publish these in a totally scholarly way, without any contextualising commentary, letting the works and the original authors speak for themselves.
Alchemy has not been well served in our time by the mass of, sadly, rather ignorant commentators who recycle tired interpretations of alchemical material. Such people appear not to have heard of, nor studied, the gems of alchemical writings that survive in libraries and specialist collections. Only a handful of scholars are aware of these wonderful works, and happily Adam McLean has dedicated his life to exploring these and publishing as much of this material as possible. It is only through seeing and reading this source material that one can come to any understanding of alchemy. It is pointless relying on the mush of ill-informed interpretative material that has appeared in the last forty years or so. To penetrate into the real nature of alchemy, and not some empty modern speculation, we have to go back to what the original alchemists wrote about alchemy. This is what the Magnum Opus series provides. The books are difficult, often obscure and challenging, but they are the genuine source material on which one can build a well founded understanding of alchemy.
These books are expensive, and as they are only available direct from Adam McLean, they should be a good investment. They hold their value and you will find that copies are sold second hand on systems such as Amazon or ABEbooks at a higher price. There are only a handful of people who own a complete run of all the volumes. Once the series is closed, these books will be worth many times what people paid for them. The edition size is now set at only 100 signed and numbered copies and the current titles should sell out their editions in less than five years.
Descriptions of the volumes together with sample pages can be seen on the bookshop section of this website.