Alchemy Academy archive
August 2000

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Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000
From: Susanna Åkerman


On 17 May Penny Bayer asked whether the Danish medical doctor
Ole Worm was connected to Rosicrucianism. I have just read Carlos
Gilly's article "Campanella fra i Rosacroce" in 'Tommaso Campanella
e l'attesa del secolo aureo' Olschki, Firenze, 1998. pp. 107-155.
(Fondazione Luigi Firpo. Centro di studi sul pensiero politico. Quaderni 3).
Gilly argues that Campanella had no influence on the formulation of the
Rosicrucian manifestoes, since Tobias Adami did not return to
Tubingen with copies of Campanella's manuscripts until later than
1609-10 when the manifestoes were written by Andreae, Tobias Hess
et al. In the process Gilly cites Ole Worm's 'Laurea philosophica summa'
Copenhagen 1619, where Worm says he had been told of (or shown)
the Fama by Johannes Hartmann in 1611 before it was publicly
put to the press:

"In manibus quorundam qui medicinae hermeticae sacramentum dixerunt,
antequam publice typis evulgaretur, annis aliquot erat famosa haec de
Fratribus'Fama': ac mihi quidem anno 1611 singularis secreti instar
communicata est a celebri quodam cuiusdam Academiae Germaniae
chymiatro (Johannes Hartmann), qui me, mera haec esse phantasmata
aut aenygmata secretius quid occultantia seputantem, rationibus haud
levibus tunc temporis a sententia dimovit."

Worm's 'Laurea' is listed in full as n. 248 (c. G4v) of Gilly's preliminary
Rosicrucian Catalogue 'Cimelia Rhodostaurotica: die Rosenkreuzer
im Spiegel der zwischen 1610 und 1660 entstandenen Handschriften
und Drucke : Ausstellung der Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
Amsterdam und der Herzog August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel.'
In de Pelikaan, Amsterdam 1995.

Gilly has also published a book on the Tyrolian Adam Haselmayer
who was the first to announce in print his reading of a manuscript of
the 'Fama' in 1611. See Gilly's 'Adam Haselmayer - Der erste Erkunder
der Manifeste der Rosencreutzer' In de Pelikaan, Amsterdam, 1995.

I do not know what Worm did with this knowledge or whether it
influenced Christian IV as Worm worked as Royal physician. Worm
appears not to have published any reply to the Rosicrucians such as
for instance the Swede Johannes Bureus did with his 'Fama e Scanzia
Redux' s.l. 1616. Bureus later in the 1640's became imbroiled with Worm
in a bitter national debate over the historical origin of the Runes, in
which Bureus did not reveal his ideal construction of them out of his
pictorial norm, the Adulruna, to which Bureus was inspired by Dee's
Monas already in 1609.

Worm published his Runic history as 'Fasti Danici universam tempora
computandi rationem antiquitus in Dania et vicinis regionibus observatam...
ex variis patriae antiquitatibus et autoribus fide dignis eruti, ac in
lucem emissi' Hafniae, 1626 and followed up with his '[Runir] seu Danica
literatura antiquissima, vulgo Gothica dicta luci reddita' Hafniae, 1636.

Bureus replied with his observations Worm's finding of a Danish
prophecy on the "return" of the Runes from their forrays into Europe:
'Runa redvx : Dän danske k. Waldmars prophetia, om rvnas hem-flycht,
funnen i Danmark, uti en norsk bok, skalda benemd, vtaf den höglärde ...
D. Olao Worm ... och af honom där sammestädes latit af prentet vtgå år
1636. Vnder däd namnet Literatvra : danica' Stockholm 1643.

Bureus then published his anonymous tract 'Monvmenta danica
certiori lectioni restituta ab absente' which aggravated the conflict.
I should perhaps take a look at this debate even if it falls into national
mythology rather than into Rosicrucianism. Bureus was driven by his
vision that the ancient Swedes had colonized Europe with their very
ancient alphabet (divinely inspired through the unified Adulruna norm
just as Hebrew can be constructed out of combinations of the Yod as
Guillaume Postel showed in his edition of the Sepher Yetzira, 1555)
and that his rediscovery of these ancient antiquities was part of the
revelation of secrets heralded by the Rosicrucian prophecies on
Europe's regeneration. Worm argued that this was nonsense,
instead pointing to the Gothic origin of the Runes, spreading
from southeast to north.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Help needed with images in alchemical manuscripts
From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 Aug 2000


I wonder if anyone can help me with my research into the
images in achemical manuscripts. I am especially interested
in coloured drawings and paintings in alchemical manuscripts.
Many of these are, of course, known to me, but I am very aware
that there are many manuscripts - especially in French,
German, Italian libraries which I have never seen and are
not generally recorded except in the library catalogue.

There are two things I would wish to do.

(1) build up a better listing of alchemical manuscripts with
illustrations.
(2) acquire microfilms or colour photographs of such images.

If anyone has any information which might help me
build a more complete list, or who already has colour
photographs they could lend or scan for me I would be
very grateful.

If there is sufficient interest in this iconographic material
from the members of this academy, perhaps we could form
a specialist group to investigate and document this material
further. Unfortunately I just do not have the funds to embark
on a grand tour of European libraries, but this would not
be necessary if people living near the major libraries could
undertake this and we could pool our resources.

I have already seen most of this material in Britain, but I now
need information on the continental collections. There are
many treasures of alchemical imagery waiting to be
uncovered.

Best wishes,

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : New Italian book and video
From: Adam McLean
Date: 9 August 2000


Today I received a copy of a new book published by Pacini Editore.

Exaltatio Essentiae Essentia Exaltata. A cura di Franco Cardini e
Mino Gabriele.

This is a large format harbound book of 205 pages, with over 160
colour illustrations and many in black and white. It is a study of the
elixir in the history of alchemy.

The accompanying 15 minute video tape shows some of the
alchemical manuscripts illustrated in the book and also shows
the appearance of alchemical imagery in some architecture
and artwork. There are three commentators - Mino Gabriele,
Nicoletta Cardano and Franco Cardini - speaking in Italian
of course. A section of the video is devoted to the Porta
Magica in Rome.
(US and others living outside Europe will probably not be
able to view tthis tape as it is in European PAL format.)

This book cost me 159,000 Italian Lira including the postage.
This worked out at £52 (probably a bit over $80).

You can buy the book direct from the publishers using your
credit card, as I did.
They have a web site

http://pacinieditore.it

or e-mail them at

Pacini.Editore@pacinieditore.it

I recommend this book to anyone interested in alchemical
imagery. I am indebted to William Milne for giving me notice
of this publication.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : New Italian book and video
From: Massimo Marra
Date : Thu, 10 Aug 2000


The web site of Pacini Editore is: http://www.pacinieditore.it

Best wishes.

Massimo Marra

Subject: ACADEMY : Another new Italian book on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 14th August 2000


One of our colleagues on this discussion group, Massimo Marra,
has just written a new book on alchemy "Il Pulicinella Filosofo
Chimico di Severino Scipione (1681) - uomini e idee dell'
alchimia a Napoli nel periodo del viceregno". This was issued
last week by Mimesis, in Milan.

The work explores the alchemical milieu in the Kingdom of Naples
between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, a very obscure
period in the otherwise rich history of alchemy in Southern Italy.
From medieval times, Southern Italy (the court of Federico II, the
Salernitan medical school, the alchemy of Michael Scot, Frate Elia da
Cortona, the works of Paolo di Taranto) was a very important area
for the diffusion of alchemy in European culture.

This rich tradition continued and developed during the Renaissance,
flowing through the works of Giovan Battista Della Porta and the
philosophical works of some writers as Colantonio Stigliola,
Ferrante Imperato and others.

After examining this milieu (with some links to the Accademia
Lincea in Naples), Massimo Marra explores the evolution and
transformation of the alchemical tradition, from the experimental
and practical alchemy of Della Porta to the purely symbolic
and philosophical alchemy of Neapolitan hermetism in
eighteenth century (Di Sangro, Cagliostro and the Egyptian
masonry). The discussion of these transformations focuses
on the reception of the physics of Cartesio in the culture of
Southern Italy, and the development of a philosophical
statement in which the qualitative and spiritual aspects of the
matter are removed from European culture.

The practical alchemy, in which the inner symbolism of the
spiritual aspect of the work was mixed with the "experimental"
researches, was transformed into an exclusively symbolic and
inner science, and the technical language was transformed into
a purely symbolic game for the initiates, and the experimental
study was given up to the new Cartesian science (expressed,
in the Naples of this period, by the cultural experience of
the "Accademia Chimica" of the Conclubet).

After an historical, introductory section, Massimo Marra presents
his critical edition of the "Pulicinella Filosofo Chimico" (1681): a
work of the Neapolitan alchemist Severino Scipione (not
catalogued in the bibliographical repertoires) in which the
alchemical art is discussed by Punch and the Bolognese
mask-character Graziano in a scholarly manner.

After the edition of this rare text, the author includes the entire
text of the "Dialogo Anagrammico dell'Alchimia "(1650) by
Gennaro Grosso, with some other extracts from the alchemical
writers of the Neapolitan milieu of this period. Severino Scipione's
works and Gennaro Grosso's 'Dialogo' are examples of the idea
of symbolic alchemy in the Neapolitan milieu of the eighteenth
century.

This book is, of course, in Italian.Taken with the other recent
publication on the Elixir that I mentioned a few days ago this
new publication certainly shows us that there is a considerable
serious interest in Italy in alchemy. There are some very significant
scholars working with alchemy in Italy at present.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Michelspacher = Thurneisser ?
From: Adam McLean
Date: 15th Aug 2000

I have been looking at the Rosicrucian work on alchemy
usually attributed to the seemingly pseudonymous
Stefan Michelspacher of the Tyrol.

Cabala, Spiegel der Kunst und Natur: in Alchymia.

There are a number of editions : 1615, 1616, 1654, 1663, 1667,
1690 and 1704. This short work includes a famous series of
four large engravings

I have been transcribing the English translation of this work
made in the mid 17th century, which is in MS Sloane
in the British Library.

In this early translation I noticed that the title page has
a marginal note seeming to ascribe it to Leonhardus
Thurneisser. The section reads :

"... an unknown yet known Author, as the engraven signs
of the first figure now translated out of the German
language into Latin do testify... [Leonardus Thurneisser
from the German translated]"

Thurneisser, of course, was an important alchemist of the
late 16th century (indeed he can seven be seen as an
early industrialist and chemical engineer). Perhaps his
best known work is his 'Quinta Essentia' of 1570.

Does anyone have an opinion on this or any additional
information on such a connection?

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Aurora consurgens illustrations
From: Adam McLean
Date: 25 August 2000


Does anyone have a listing in their correct order of the
illustrations in the 'Aurora consurgens'.
I am not sure that the order is the same in all manuscripts,
but I would like an ordered listing of the illustrations in the
Zurich manuscript, which is probably the original (around 1520).

The two books I have which show all the illustrations are :

Mino Gabrieli : Alchemia e Iconologia

Barbara Obrist : Les Debuts de l'imagerie alchimique.

Both of these books present the illustrations in a different
sequence in their text, as they try to impose their own
interpretation on the imagery. They do not seem to include the
folio numbers so I cannot associate illustrations with folio order.


In my descriptions of the Ferguson Manuscript

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

I list the illustrations in the order they appear there.
However, this is a late manuscript (17th century) and may
not reflect the original order.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Kabbalah in the BPH
From: Adam McLean
Date: 25 August 2000

Last weekend I helped set up a virtual exhibition of
the books and manuscripts in the Bibliotheca Philosophica
Hermetica on the Kabbalah. This includes many illustrations
and bibliographic details. This includes a section on
Kabbalah and Alchemy.

You can access this from the main index page of the
library.

http://www.ritmanlibrary.nl

The text is by Cis van Heertum.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Aurora consurgens illustrations
From: ME Warlick
Date: 26 August 2000


Adam,

When I was in Zürich, I was only able to see the facsimile, but
maybe this will be helpful to you. I didn't have much time as I
was madly copying some bibliographic notes, and so my notes
on the facsimile were very cursory, taken with the hopes of
getting back some day to see the original.
This facsimile was published in 1981 in Bologna by Achille
Maramotti, with notes or comments by Adalgisa Lugli, but I can't
seem put pull it up on OCLC. I also have a note that it might be
ordered from Alessandro Serra, via Indipendenza, 24, 40121
Bologna. Zürich's call number for the facsimile was TAU/MA7.
My descriptions are short, but you'll know which images they are.

Zürich Zentralbilbiothek, MD Rh. 172

from page 9 (of the facsimile):

frontispiece: (185 x 128 cm), androgyne with bat, rabbit and black
crow (de Rola)
f1r (291 x136 cm), lobster violin, looks very crinkled (de Rola)
f3r (204 x 139 cm) philosopher in small house (de Rola)
f5v (69 x 87 cm) man in white robe points to king in cooking
pot at lower right, hills with trees on either side
f7v (57 x 94 cm) couple sleeping in the out of doors, inside a
wattle fence, trees on either side, looks unpainted, more like a sketch
f10v (69 x 108 cm) jousting king and queen (de Rola)

page 10:

f11r (100 x 135 cm) menstruating woman in zodiac, sun outside
the circle
f12v (44 x 68 cm) 2 women playing chess, one in purple at the
table, the other in green holds black crow
f13v (46 x 68 cm) woman nursing the philosophers, she is in
blue with red face, man on left in pink and in green on right
f14v (62 x 29 cm) man with scratchy face sits on green palette,
woman in blue with wimple brings him flowers or wheat
f18r (55 x 98 or 99? cm, can't read my writing) couple in bed again,
this page has a great deal of damage, man in red robe at right
f19v (69 x 87 cm) 3 men in blue, pink and green, large vessel at right

page 11, I'm not sure why the folio page numbers backtrack here,
why they were not just listed in order:

f16v (60 x 68 cm) peacock in fire beside unfinished vessel in fire
f19v (38 x 68 cm) "piece of my heart" dissection
f20r (55 x 65 cm) hen and copulating chickens
f20v (49 x 97 cm) strutting green dragon and small squirrel with
a banded circle of some sort
f21v (62 x 94 cm) man next to table (sorting grain?) by large
vessel containing dragon, eagle and crow
f22v (50 x 68 cm) 5 nude children jump out of fire, and smudgy
unfinished dragon(?) in fire at lower right.
f23v (59 x 80 cm) man in green sifts grain (?) while eagle in
nest pours something into a large red vessel
f24v (48 x 68 cm) 2 miners, 1 in red, pelican and chicks on hill
at right
f25v (58 x 91 cm) 2 men with short red hair by a table, seated
man at right has a mallet and seems to be pounding something
f24r (62 x 62 cm) philosopher in blue with white turban outside
small city, fox (?) under tree and fence at left
f27v (68 x 98 cm) blue mermaid chops off heads of red man
and white woman, vessel on hill
f29 v (71 x 90 cm) woman opens dress to show womb,
originally probably silver, green wings, stands on moon

Page 13

f 34 r (59 x 105 cm), blue dog-person with tail points black arrows
at vessel containing blue eagle eating orange dragon, fire beneath
f36 r (59 x 107 cm) red faced knight and black woman in white
tunic cut up dragon (de Rola)


ME Warlick

Subject: ACADEMY : Aurora consurgens illustrations
From: Stanislas Klossowki de Rola
Date: 26 August 2000


Dear Adam,

Here is the order, according to my research notes, in which the
pictures appear in Codex Rhenovacensis 172 "Aurora Consurgens"
at the Zentral Bibliothek in Zurich.

Upon opening the volume one finds the Hermaphrodite (Obrist 36).
Facing it is the composite harmony of all the elements (Obrist 37).
The third picture is that of Senior studying the book in the
church (Obrist 49)
The fourth picture on the verso of p.5 is " a miniature of a man
sowing gold, in a vessel heated by fire a crowned man stews".
The fifth picture facing p. 8 is an unfinished miniature depicting
an alchemical embrace.
The sixth picture is that of the famous alchemical tournament
(Obrist Cover ill.) which is on the verso of p.10 facing p.11.
The seventh picture is the curious green woman within the
astrological circle (Obrist 53) which is on page 11.
The eighth picture is on the verso of p.12 facing p. 13 (Obrist 54)
the lady sitting at the table is dressed in blue whilst the one
carrying the golden scales is in green. A blue bird eats from
a gold dish which she holds aloft.
The ninth picture is on the verso of p. 13 facing p. 14 is Lady
Alchimia breast-feeding the Philosophers (Obrist 55).
The tenth picture facing p. 15 is damaged. It represents an
old lady offering a green bouquet to a golden faced woman
with dark copper torso and grey legs spotted with red. (Obrist 56).
The 11th picture is that of the burning peacock which faces
p. 17 (Obrist 57).
I have no descriptions for the next three miniatures which are on
p. 18 and facing page other than the remark that they are
damaged (Obrist 58-59-60).
Facing page 20, the 15th picture is that of the vomiting, defecating
and peeing youth pulling his hair whose female counterpart offers
him her heart (Obrist 61)
The 16th picture on p.20 is that of the copulating cock and hen
with another hen sittting on her eggs (Obrist 62)
The 17th picture facing p.21 shows the basilisk (Obrist 62)
The 18th picture facing p.22 shows the man washing and the
alchemical vessel with Ouroboros and Eagle (Obrist 64).
The 19th picture facing p.23 is damaged putti leaping from
the flames (Obrist 65).
The 20th picture facing p.24 shows the alchemist straining
his matter and the burning Phoenix (Obrist 66).
The 21st picture facing p.25 Miners and Pelican (Obrist 66)
The 22nd picture faces p.26. (Obrist 68) shows the three
alchemists at work their robes are repectively (from left)
orange green and white.
The 23d ill. on the recto of fol 27 (Obrist 69) shows the
blue-robed Arabian Adept entering the Hermetick citadel with
the crowned tree of the Work at his back.
24th ill. verso of fol 27. shows the power of the Universal
dissolvent (Obrist 70 in color)
25th picture facing p.30 (Obrist 71 color) Black angel, green wings.
The 26th picture on p. 34 is also reproduced in color by Obrist (72)
The 27th and last picture is found on folio 36 and is reproduced in
color by Obrist (73) it shows the alchemical couple binding the
vanquished green dragon.

I hope the above is of use to you. I also have some of the dimensions
if you require them for instance a full page is 20cms high and
13.5 cms. wide.

All the best
Stanislas Klossowki de Rola