Alchemy Academy archive
April 2002

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Subject: ACADEMY : Prague monastery library
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002

Dear Academy,

Whilst visiting Prague a few years ago I was shown to a monastery
by a young acquaintance of Michal Pober, where I came upon
a copy of the 'Theses Summam Doctrinae de Temperamentis
Corporis Humani' Count Michael Maier defended for his Master
of Arts at Frankfurt an der Oder on June 17th, 1592.

Whilst I transcribed the work, I forgot to note down the name of
the monastery - it was to the left of the Hradschin as one looks
up from the centre of the city near the river. Can anyone help
out here? I get the feeling it was the Strahov monastery, but
I'm not sure.

Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY : Prague monastery library
From: Michal Pober
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002

Dear Hereward,

It was the Strahov Monastery.
In their English Information they call themselves:

Strahovska Knihovna
Strahov Library
Premonstratensian monastery at Strahov.

As you probably came to realise its a very fine collection.
A large number of the books in the Opus Magnum Exhibition
came from there.

And Greetings to you!

Best,
michal Pober

Subject: ACADEMY : Coleridge on 'Chymical Analogies'
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002
From: Michael Srigley

I thought that the following extract from the Notebooks of the poet S. T.
Coleridge (1732-1834) might interest those working on alchemy in England in
more recent times. It is taken from 'Animae Poetae' (London, 1895), edited
by the poet's son, Ernest Hartley Coleridge, and is headed:"Chymical
Analogies"

"I am persuaded that the chymical technology, as far as it was borrowed
from life and intelligence, half-metaphorically, half mystically, may be
brought back again ... to the use of psychology in many instances and,
above all, [may be readapted to] the philosophy of language, which ought to
be be experimentative and analytic of the contents of meaning ... Thus
innocence is distinguished from virtue and vice versa.In both of them there
is an opposite, but in each opposite. A decomposition must take place in
the first instance, and then a new composition, in order for innocence to
become virtue. It loses a positive, and then the base attracts another
different positive, by the higher affinity of the same base under a
different temperature for the latter" (204).

Coleridge seems to be calling for a revival of chymistry or alchemy and its
application to psychology, perhaps thinking of Paracelsus whose works he
praises ('Animae Poetae', 232), and of Dorn. He also wishes to apply it to
linguistics as a process of transmutation of meanings induced, as it were,
by heat. Coleridge may imply that a similar transmutation takes place
within an individual by the 'decomposition' of innocence and its
recomposition at a higher level as virtue.

Coleridge sounds like a forerunner of Jung!

Best Wishes,

Michael Srigley

Subject: ACADEMY : An 18th century alchemical novel
From: Samten de Wet
Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002


William Godwin, St Leon, (Edited by Pamela Clemit).

St Leon (1799), Godwin's second novel, is a work of challenging
ambition. Like his first, Caleb Williams (1794), it is a confessional
tale of obsession and spiralling pursuit. In St Leon the emphasis
is on the individual's powerlessness in the face of momentous
historical change.

Set during the Protestant Reformation, St Leon tells the harrowing
tale of an exiled French aristocrat who is given the secrets of
the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life. His attempts to use
these gifts to benefit humanity lead only to disaster. Plunged
into self-destructive isolation, he wanders through the centres
of European religious controversy, arousing fascination,
suspicion, and social unrest wherever he goes. 512 pp.

Subject: ACADEMY : De Jong's 'Atalanta fugiens' reprinted
From: Adam McLean
Date: 11 April 2002

Heleen de Jong's book on Michael Maier's 'Atalanta fugiens'
has been reprinted in February by Nicholas Hays Inc.
It has not been in print for many years.

Nicholas Hays,
P.O. Box 2039,
York Beach,
Maine 03910-2039
USA
email: nhi@isi.net

It is available through the online bookshops.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Coleridge on 'Chymical Analogies'
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002
From: C-M Edenborg

Dear Michael,

I have a few pages on Coleridge's views on alchemy in my
dissertation on the Shame of Alchemy (being published in the
autumn 2002). Basically, he shares the common romantic view
on alchemy, rejecting its singularity (above all the concrete aspects)
and affirming its metaphorical use - in much the same way as
20th century occultists like Jung.

It's interesting to see that he had actual contact with contemporary
english alchemists, above all a close friendship with Charles
Augustus Tulk, son of the very active alchemist John Augustus
Tulk, who published Flamels Testament in 1806.

We are still awaiting the publication of Coleridge's huge manuscript,
the Opus Maximum, where his views on alchemy will probably be
clearer. But there are a few passages on alchemy in his other texts,
among which this one is particularly interesting, pointing to the romantic
theme of the Return:

"It is curious to mark how certainly ? I may say instinctively ? the reason
has always pointed out to men the ultimate end of the various sciences,
and how immediately afterwards they have set to work like children
to realize that end. [- - -] So Alchemy is the theoretic end of Chemistry ?
there must be a common law, upon which all can become each and
each all ? but then it was turned to coining gold, &c" (Table talks)

Best wishes

C-M Edenborg

Subject: ACADEMY : Journal of the Alchemical Society
From: Adam McLean
Date: 16 April 2002

Does anyone have a copy of the short lived Journal of the
Alchemical Society which was published between 1913-1915 ?

I used to have access to a copy but no longer. There are
some articles in this journal which I am interested in.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Help needed sequencing manuscript through copying errors
From: Adam McLean
Date: 16 April 2002

Does anyone have any abilities or experience in sequencing
a series of manuscript copies of the same work through
analysing the copying errors?

I have great problem trying to do this and wondered if anyone
had tried to trace the sequence of the copies of manuscript
in this way.

The problem is that there are obviously copies in the sequence
now lost, and the permutations of possibilities just rise and
one loses the thread of copying errors, or finds a number of
inconsistent routes between two manuscripts.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Help needed sequencing manuscript through copying
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002
From: Jon Gilbert

I have a bit of experience doing this with Ancient Greek texts.
Unfortunately, the problems that you are encountering are very
familiar to philologists. Why do you think manuscripts often receive
letters as opposed to numbers for their identification? Because they
are often resequenced when new revelations are found and old
revelations are debunked. Evolutionary biologists also run into
similar problems drawing up phylogenetic trees. At least for some of
these scientists, there is the "law of parsimony," whereas for us,
it's always "lectio dificilior:" the more difficult reading is
usually correct. In any case, hopefully for you it's not insoluble.

Good luck,

JS Gilbert

Subject: ACADEMY : Crystalomantic prayerbook
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

As promised, I have made a facsimile edition of the _Prayerbook
of Vladislaus the Varnenian_. It is in DjVu format and can be
found at:

http://main.amu.edu.pl/~rafalp/SALAMANDRA

I have split it into two files - with the introductory material
in Polish set apart (but it may also be interesting to look at,
even if only for the references to books/articles used by
the editors). The main part (actually the second part of the book)
consists of the full text and photographs of the pages
containing miniatures).

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Saint Hubertus
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002
From: Adam McLean
>My question to your expert members is, whether you see
>any (clear) alchemical reference in the choice of the
>antlers and the cross, and whether the legend of St.
>Hubertus or the motto 'Spiritus et Materia Unum'
>feature in any alchemical text that might have been
>known to mrs. Kröller-Müller.

While a few stags appear in alchemical symbolism
I don't think this would be the source of the cross
and the stags antlers.

This appears to be a common myth structure. Here in
my native Scotland, for example, one of the most important
early kings of Scotland, David I, has this legend associated
with him and with the foundation of Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh.
The story goes (one of many variations) that in 1128 King David
was out hunting near Edinburgh, when a stag turned on him and
attacked him. As he was about to be gorged by the stag, he saw a
vision of a cross between its antlers. On seeing this he was saved.
In thanks for this miracle, he founded Holyrood Abbey (The abbey
of the holy cross) on this spot. I believe this is a common myth
and has accreted itself to the foundation legends of a number
buildings.

This surely is the source of this mythic idea, not some alchemical
one. The appearance of the stag in some alchemical emblems
is quite late, I suspect. I can only immediately recall 17th century
alchemical emblems with stags. One might have expected that
if the stag had strong alchemical and christian resonances
that it would appear in the early 15th century 'Buch der heiligen
Dreifaltigkeit' which integrates christian and alchemical symbolism,
however, I cannot remember the stag with or without cross appearing
in any of the various manuscripts of this which I have seen.

It is probably safest to chase up the traditional christian legend
than embark on a quest for an alchemical link.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Saint Hubertus
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002
From: Audrey Wagtberg Hansen

Frank van Lamoen suggested that I might contact your
discussion list concerning the following question:

Mrs. Helene Kröller-Müller, a famous 20st century
Dutch art collector and founder of the Kröller-Müller
Museum, is believed to have been influenced by
esoteric currents in her ideas about life and art. The
museum is currently undertaking research into this
area, in which I am involved as an art historian.
The residence of the Kröller-Müller family, the
Hunting Lodge St. Hubertus (a castle) in Hoenderloo
was built by the famous Dutch architect H.P. Berlage.
The building plan of the castle reflects the shape of
a (latin) cross between a pair of antlers, as a
reference to the legend of St Hubertus (who saw a deer
with a shining cross between its antlers). The
personal seal of mrs. Kröller-Müller has the same
design and the words 'Spiritus et Materia Unum'.

My question to your expert members is, whether you see
any (clear) alchemical reference in the choice of the
antlers and the cross, and whether the legend of St.
Hubertus or the motto 'Spiritus et Materia Unum'
feature in any alchemical text that might have been
known to mrs. Kröller-Müller.

The team of art historians involved in the project
would be very grateful for your suggestions.

Yours sincerely,


Audrey Wagtberg Hansen.

Subject: ACADEMY : Saint Hubertus
From: Robert Vanloo
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002

The deer does not seem to be uncommon in alchemy. In his
"Libellus de lapide philosophico" (1625, but mss prior to this date)
Lambprinck shows in figure III, a deer and a unicorn hidden in a
forest, with the explanation that "in the Body there is Soul and Spirit".
The text is very explicit concerning the relationship between
deer/mercury, and unicorn/sulfur :

"If we apply the parable to Our Art, we shall call the forest the Body...
"The unicorn will be the Spirit of all times.
"The deer desires no other name
"But that of the Soul; which name no man shall take away from it.
"He that knows how to tame and master them by Art
"To couple them together
"And to lead them in and out of the forest
"May justly be called a Master."

Hence probably the motto "Spiritus et Materia Unum", and the
combination made in Christian and alchemical symbolism between
deer/mercury/soul/blood/redeemer and the vision by Saint-Hubert
(a village in the Belgian Ardenne carries the Saint's name ).

Pernety remarks in his MH dictionary that alchemists say that they
have obtained "le coeur du cerf" (deer's heart) when the matter has
been boiled long enough.

Robert Vanloo

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung's understanding of alchemy
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002
From: Jon Marshall

After a long period of quiet I've just been asked to give a talk to the
local Jung society on how modern knowledge of the history of alchemy
affects Jung's understandings of the subject. What kinds of criticism
have been made of Jung etc.

Rather than reinvent the work of others, could anyone help me with
recommendations for any good sources for this kind of discussion?

jon

Subject: ACADEMY : Images from Rosarium manuscript
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002
From: Jon Marshall

Incidently the local Jung society has a nice set of Rosarium plates
(which I'm not sure is in the right order) on the web at

http://www.Jungdownunder.com/Rosarium_web/index.htm

jon

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung's understanding of alchemy
From: Mike Dickman
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002

Jon,

I don't know if you read French at all, but both Fulcanelli (whoever
he/she/they was/were) and Canseliet are pretty scathing of Jung's
approach. Ch. 3 of Canseliet's "l'Alchimie Expliquée sur ses Textes
Classiques" is worth a read before you advance.

m

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung's understanding of alchemy
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002

Dear Jon,

You may wish to look to Principe and Newmans' recent article
"Some Problems with the Historiography of Alchemy" in 'Secrets
of Nature', MIT Press 2001, for an interesting critique of Jung's
interpretation of alchemy. My own critique of Principe and Newmans'
ideas will be published shortly as part of a larger work,
"The Quest for the Phoenix: Spiritual Alchemy and Rosicrucianism
in the Work of Count Michael Maier (1569-1622)"... you'll also find
a summation of the reception of Jung's approach amongst
historians of science there. A few people have shown interest
in my critique of Principe and Newman, so I'm currently
preparing that portion of my work for publication as an article.
How soon do you have to give the talk? You can communicate
with me off the group on this one if you want...
my e-mail is h.tilton@uq.edu.au

Cheers,

Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung's understanding of alchemy
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002

Dear Jon,

Lawrence Principe who wrote on Robert Boyle as an aspiring
adept recently said that Jungian thinking of alchemy fits the
history of the subject only since Jung himself published on
alchemy. Many artists and authors have taken up his thinking
on individuation and the lapis as a Christsymbol showing hence
to the completed process toward individuation. (Jung built on
Herman Silberer who had a psychological interpretation of a
much less sophisticated sort.) Principe is very adamant in
arguing that Jung's scheme is useless for the older tradition
that often built on Geber's minima or develops through imaging
the material process on an observational level without having
a Jungian structure at all. At least this is what he said in the
Aarhus conference in December 2001 on alchemy and art.
The argument can probably be made better by Principe himself,
although I do not know whether he has wriiten on it.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung's understanding of alchemy
From: Frank van Lamoen
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002

Dear Jon,

Jungs approach was severely criticised by Barbara Obrist in
'Les débuts de l'imagerie alchimique (XIVe-XV siècles)'
Paris 1982, p. 15 ff.

Frank van Lamoen