Alchemy Academy archive
August 2002

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Subject: ACADEMY : Jung paper
Sat, 03 Aug 2002
From: Jon Marshall

People may remember the help they gave me on a talk I was
writing for the Jung Society of Sydney on Jung and Alchemy.

If any one is interested, a version of the paper can be found at

http://www.geocities.com/jmarshallau/jung-subject.rtf

Its rather long, but any comments would be greatly appreciated.

jon

Subject: ACADEMY : Citrinitas
From: Susanna Åkerman
Tue, 6 Aug 2002

Dear John,

I have read your paper with interest. I like the phrase on the 'exhalation'
of metalls and minerals. I want to point out that Swedenborg's
interpretation of metalls always are related on how they are described
in the revealed Word (the Bible). I also wonder about your scheme:

- they originally described four stages:
Melanosis (Blackening)
Leukosis (Whitening)
Xanthosis (Yellowing)
and Iosis (Reddening)

During the 15th and 16th Centuries, this was generally simplified to three stages.
Nigredo (black)
Albedo (white)
Rubedo (red).

How is Xanthosis (yellowing) seen, and what about its Latin form as
Citrinitas. Why was this stage excluded or not talked about? Is it
really a change over time as you state?

Susanna Åkerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung, Swedenborg & Citrinitas
Tue, 06 Aug 2002
From: Jon Marshall

> From: Susanna Åkerman
> I have read your paper with interest. I like the phrase on the 'exhalation'
> of metalls and minerals. I want to point out that Swedenborg's
> interpretation of metalls always are related on how they are described
> in the revealed Word (the Bible).

I confess that that section was a little underdeveloped, but after all
the paper is about Jung not Swedenborg. All I can really say now, apart
from that footnote, is that many years ago when reading a life of
Swedenborg I noted that the author would make claims about Swedenborg's
scientific originality, and these originalities often seemed, to me, to
be restatements of alchemical positions, or to be extremely similar to
alchemical positions. Maybe I should write something properly on
Swedenborg :) I must admit I would like to find a copy of Hitchock's
book on Swedenborg as a hermetic philosopher, but think it unlikely I'll
ever see it.

However i would think it more probable that he gave a particular kind of
coherence to some biblical ideas, probably mixing them with symbolic
resonances from other fields, rather than simply discovered coherences
which were already there as he would have claimed. But this is
complicated as undoubtedly those biblical metaphors would have
influenced European usages as well.

>I also wonder about your scheme:
>
> - they originally described four stages:
> Melanosis (Blackening)
> Leukosis (Whitening)
> Xanthosis (Yellowing)
> and Iosis (Reddening)
>
> During the 15th and 16th Centuries, this was generally simplified to three
> stages.
> Nigredo (black)
> Albedo (white)
> Rubedo (red).
>
> How is Xanthosis (yellowing) seen, and what about its Latin form as
> Citrinitas. Why was this stage excluded or not talked about? Is it
> really a change over time as you state?

Actually this is meant to be a description of what Jung argued (which is
why these statements are not made in the history section). He does not,
as far as I know elaborate on this issue. So if anyone else can add
anything then I would be greatful.

I personally do not know if it is true to the degree that he claimed. I
have a vague feeling that citrinitas is less common in later works, but
I wouldn't bet too much on it, as I'm not to sure about its commoness in
the earlier works either!

Thank you, for all your comments by the way.

jon

Subject: ACADEMY : Question on Flamel
From: Claude Gagnon
Wed, 7 Aug 2002

> One tradition that I'm particularly interested in that does
> not appear to be prefigured in "Exposition" is the story of Flamel
> being visited by an angel while in bed who showed him a copy
> of a book and promised that he would be able to translated it in
> part some day. Does anyone know when or where this story
> first appeared in print? Do you know of any academic
> discussions of the event or the motif more generally?


As I am concerned, the first author who mentionned the dream
of Flamel is Albert Poisson in the edition of the Hieroglyphical Figures
in 1893 (Paris, Chacornac; Gutenberg Reprint 1981, p.12). I am
still searching where I once read that Poisson admitted that he
invented himself the dream of Flamel.

I have to say that the Dixon edition does not give an exact
description of the figures contained in the Abraham'work:
it repeats the error of the English version of 1624 about the first
figure (confusing "verge"(rode) and "virgin"). I have explained
that error in my article "Isaac Newton lecteur de Nicolas Flamel"
in Chrysopoeia, tome V (1992-1996), p.736, footnote 17. I

Claude Gagnon

Subject: ACADEMY : Question on Flamel
Thu, 08 Aug 2002
From: Benjamin Judkins

Thanks for the return. I might be able to help you out. The earliest
english language version of the story I have been able to find is in
A.E. Waite's _Lives of the Alchemysical Philosophers_ (1888). He gives
a pretty complete recounting of the story in his Flamel chapter.
Interestingly enough, this same story is not related in his (presumed)
1814/15 volume _Lives of the Adepts in Alchemystical Philosophy_. So I
assume that he picked the story up sometime between 1815 and 1888.
However if Poisson admitted to having made the story up, maybe there are
different versions of this dream story that need to be looked at?

Thanks for your time,

Benjamin N. Judkins

Subject: ACADEMY : Question on Flamel
From: Claude Gagnon
Sun, 11 Aug 2002

Speaking of Waite's work, W.W. Westcott, in his reprint of the
Exposition of the Hieroglyphical Figures in 1889, writes:

"On page 3 the word Virgin occurs, it is correctly reprinted in the
old English Translation, but is no less a foolish error and I see
that Mr.Waite in the reprint of Lives of the Alchemical Philosophers
has fallen a victim of the same ignorance of French,
"Verge" has been mistaken for "Vierge", "Rod" for "Virgin"."

So, it seems that Mrs. Dixon, in 1994, has not considered the Westcott
edition, neither the whole French tradition nor the very well known
figures of Abraham's book .

In 1969, Eric Muraise published in France a book entitled: "Le Livre
de l'Ange"(ed. Juliard) but the author does not tell much about the
book of Abraham or the Angel seen by Flamel in his dream.

Claude Gagnon

Subject: ACADEMY : Jung, Swedenborg & Citrinitas

From: Susanna Åkerman
Sun, 11 Aug 2002

Dear John,

Just returning from a Jung workshop where people asked me
to deliver a shop on Porta magica and alchemy next summer
in Gothenburg ! I am all the more interested in your paper and
will dip into Jung a bit more than before by rereading his books
on alchemy.

You can get a reprint of Hitchcock's _Swedenborg as a
Hermetic Philosopher_ from the Journal "Arcana - Inner
dimensions of Spirituality" which has published it in chapter
installments starting from Vol V. No. 2 in 1999. You can get
this text buy buying a copy of each number at 5 dollars from
The Swedenborg Association, 278 Meeting Street Charleston
SC 29401 USA or by e-mail to the editor Leonard Fox
Arcana@swedenborg.net

Good Luck,

Susanna

Subject: ACADEMY : Treatises of Hermes
Fri, 16 Aug 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear All,

In the second of the 55 letters attributed to Sendivogius he
recommends some books to his correspondent, including:

There are two small treatises of his; one inscribed with
a posthumous name given by his commentators viz:
"Transitus maris rubri". The other; "Appulsus ad terram promissam",
both let be recommended to you before any other.
But they are rare to be had and perhaps not to be found in Europe.
I have found them in Constantinople by some Martians where having
perused them I copied them for memory's sake.

This translation is by Sibly, and comes from Adam's page at:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/send10.html

Bugaj's Polish translation from the Latin in Manget has a slightly
different title of the second treatise: "Appulsus terrae promissae",
and "Maronites" instead of "Martians" - but this doesn't matter here.


The "Hermetic Catechism" of Baron Tschoudy (1766), also on Adam's
page at:

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

recommends among other works:

Q. What books should be read in order to have an acquaintance
with our science?
A. Among the ancients, all the works of Hermes should especially
be studied; in the next place, a certain book, entitled
"The Passage of the Red Sea", and another, "The Entrance into
the Promised Land".

In "Philosophic and Hermatic Apocalypse" (Auto-commentary) which is
included in Mike Dickman's "Compendium" published by Adam, and which
seems to have been written at the end of the 18th c. (references to
Fremasonry and St. Martin) basically the same alchemical texts are
recommended, including:

Before one seek initiation, must one have read the
works of Hermes. One must have knowledge of the crossing
of the Red Sea.

Finally, A.E. Waite in his supplement to Ruland's "Lexicon of alchemy"
(p. 339) refers to the "French Catechism" (probably the one by
Tschoudy mentioned above) and suggests reading the works of Hermes
first, and then proceed to:

1. The Passage of the Red Sea. 2. The Entrance into
the Land of Promise.

which are thus no longer considered to be the works of Hermes?

I have tried to find any other information about those texts
or the texts themselves - without success. Does anyone know
if those two treatises actually exist? Maybe under different
titles?

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Nicolas Flamel - Cimtiere des Innocents
From: Rima Bell
Tue, 20 Aug 2002

I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me. Did Flamel actually
commission the chapel paintings for the Cimtiere des Innocents?
Also, in regards to the below quote, I was wondering how
accurate it is?

José Rodríguez:
"Really, he (Flamel) was an historical person but not involved with
alchemy. That is the resolution of the most recent and complete
research in the historical development of alchemy and Nicolas
Flamel. At the present there are no scholars in a position to
confirm (with factual data) about Flamel as an alchemist..."


Many Thanks,

Nancy Bell


Subject: ACADEMY : Double materia prima
Fri, 23 Aug 2002
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Peter,

Re your enquiry about two forms of the prima materia.

In Martin Ruland's A Lexicon of Alchemy (1984 ed.) under
the heading 'Prima Materia et Hujus Vocabula' (220-226) it is
said that there is only one 'Primal Matter'. Nevertheless he does
make a distinction between three (but not two) major forms
it can take:

It [prima materia] is also the seeds of bodies, even the seminal life of
all things, whether vegetable, animal, or mineral, which do propagate and
continue their species by means of seminal generation. Now the seed of
bodies is the first matter of the chemists; and this matter is found only
in the seed of bodies. But each seed is to be found after its own kind, in
its own species. There is a seed of individuals according to the three
Kingdoms of Nature, and this seed is diverse in each. In the mineral
kingdom, it is called a Sperm, and this sperm is the Sulphur of metals -
an unctuous, sulphureous and mercurial vapour, says Aristotle (225-6).

Where a two-fold prima materia is concerned, it may be relevant that
Subtle in Jonson's The Alchemist (II.iii.139ff.), performed in 1610,
peaks of a certain "remote matter" made up of two substances,
"unctuous water" and "a certain crass, and viscous portion of earth",

both which, concorporate,
Do make the elementary matter of gold:
Which is not, yet, propria materia,
But common to all metals, and all stones (146-149).

Later in his speech, Subtle goes on to say that

Of that airy,
And oily water, mercury is engendered;
Sulphur o' the fat, and earthy part: the one
(Which is the last) supplying the place of male,
The other of the female, in all metals.
Some do believe hermaphrodeity,
That both do act, and suffer. But, these two
Make the rest ductile, malleable, extensive.
And, even in gold, they are; for we do do find
Seeds of them, by our fire, and gold in them:
And can produce the species of each metal
More perfect thence, than nature does in earth. (159-170).

This whole passage is, of course, a send-up of contemporary
alchemy and is based on passages in Martin Delrio's attack
on Renaissance magic, including alchemy, in 'Disquisitiones
Magicae' (1600).

Jonson seems to be mockingly alluding to the idea of two basic
substances in the prima materia, of a male and female
character, which in different combination produce all metals.

Hoping this may be of some help in this obscure matter,

Yours,

Michael Srigley


Subject: ACADEMY : Nicolas Flamel - Cimtiere des Innocents
From: Claude Gagnon
Fri, 23 Aug 2002

Dear Nancy,

Of course Mr. Rodrigez is perfectly right and since Thorndike
and Sarton, nobody considers Flamel to have been an alchemist.
The texts that used to be attributed to him are now identified as
the pseudo-Flamel's. But Flamel is still a mythic authority (cf. Harry
Potter's first book).

The real Flamel really financed the 4th arch of the Innocents cemetery
but the iconography it contains is easily understood from the strict
point of roman art. Finally, Flamel's fortune has not yet been explained.
It is a real enigma because a notary public could never accumulate
so much money.

Did he have relations with the Jews of his neighbourhood? Maybe yes
(for some historians), maybe no (in the Book of Hieroglyphical figures
published first in 1612). His testament reveals colossal amounts of
money.

And he died when he was very old (88), a length of life that is very
exceptional for mediaeval times.

Claude Gagnon

Subject: ACADEMY : Nicolas Flamel - Cimitiere des Innocents
Mon, 26 Aug 2002
From: Joël Tetard

Dear all,

I do not share Claude's opinion : a proof of the fact that Nicolas
Flamel was an Alchimist exists in the "Musée du Moyen Age
de Cluny" located in the well known "quartier latin" of Paris. In
this beautiful museum, where is located also the famous
"tapisserie de la Dame à la Licorne", you can see the tombstone
of Nicolas Flamel, engraved with what we consider to be alchemical
symbols. This tombstone appears to be authentic.

Fabrice Barbeau wrote a paper concerning the alchemical interpretation
of these symbols in the French esoteric review Atlantis (n°399 issue),
but I did not read it yet.

I send you attached a picture of this stone. A more readable drawing is
also available from


Regards.

Joël Tetard

Subject: ACADEMY : Nicolas Flamel - Cimitiere des Innocents
Mon, 26 Aug 2002
From: Adam McLean

>you can see the tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, engraved
>with what we consider to be alchemical
>symbols. This tombstone appears to be authentic.

I cannot see any alchemical symbols on this stone. Here we
see Christ flanked by St Peter and St Paul and between
Sun and Moon. Below is the common image on gravestones of
the body wrapped in a shroud. It seems just one of conventional
Christian sentiment. Surely one is not indicating alchemical
significance purely on the appearance of the Sun and Moon. These
are conventional images found everywhere. Many gravestones
in Scottish graveyards have images of the Sun and Moon on them ,
Not every gravestone with a Sun and Moon upon them lies
above a buried alchemist ! Otherwise there must have been
millions of alchemists, and the world was over-filled with them.

The text is entirely that of a conventional Christian and it would
surely require turning intellectual cartwheels to find any alchemical
resonances here :

"Feu Nicolas Flamel jadis escrivain a laissié par son testament
a l'oeuvre de ceste eglise certaines rentes et maisons qu'il
avoit acquestées et achatées a son vivant pour faire certain
service divin et distribucions d'argent chascun an par aumosne
tou chants les quinze vins, l'ostel dieu et autres eglises et hopitaux
de Paris. Soit prié pour les trespassez.

Domine Deus in tua misericordia speravi.

De terre suis venu et en terre retourne ;
L'ame rens a toy Jhesu, qui les pechiez pardonne."

The book by Nigel Wilkins (in French) provides a survey of the
history and legend of Nicolas Flamel.

What is very interesting about Flamel is the impulse that
some people seem to have to accept the myth at face
value. It is the need to construct and preserve such myths
and contrived histories that makes alchemy fascenating.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Double materia prima
Mon, 26 Aug 2002
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Michael & Peter,

Michael Srigley wrote:

> In Martin Ruland's A Lexicon of Alchemy (1984 ed.) under
> the heading 'Prima Materia et Hujus Vocabula' (220-226) it is
> said that there is only one 'Primal Matter'. Nevertheless he does
> make a distinction between three (but not two) major forms
> it can take:

It may be relevant that Sendivogius (Novum Lumen, Treatise 3)
says (quoted from Adam's site):

The first matter of metals is twofold, and one without
the other cannot create a metal. The first and principal
substance is the moisture of air mingled with warmth.
This substance the Sages have called Mercury, and in
the philosophical sea it is governed by the rays of
the Sun and the Moon. The second substance is the dry
heat of the earth, which is called Sulphur.

In original the opening phrase is:

Prima Metallorum materia duplex est

but he clearly refers to the basic constituents of metals rather
than the prima materia of the alchemical process (ie. what to
put into the retort).

Best regards,

Rafal

Subject: ACADEMY : Announcement of series of alchemical publications
From: Adam McLean
27 August 2002

There are very few publishers willing to publish scholarly
essays or short alchemical pieces. There are very few
individuals or institutions willing to subsidise such
publications, and as a result it seems that little new material
on alchemy is being published. I have decided, as an
experiment, to extend my Hermetic Research Series of
short paperback books. In the last few months I have
issued five new titles in this series, the last being Jon
Marshall's essay on Jung, Alchemy and History.

If anyone in the Academy discussion group would like
a short piece they have written published in this format,
please email me. This is really just a vehicle for putting
some interesting research into printed form, which I think
makes it more lasting, than just placing it onto a web site.

Of course this is not a profitable venture and I will only
sell a small number of copies. I am not able to distribute
books through the major distribution systems, but must just
sell them individually to customers through my online alchemy
web bookshop.

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/bookshop

As I cannot afford to spend much time on preparing the book
for publication, I cannot act as an editor, apart from correcting
typos and creating a consistent layout. You will have to act
as your own editor.

The main subjects I am looking for are :

* Transcriptions or translations into English of shorter
alchemical texts.
* Short scholarly essays on some facet of alchemy.

The format and finances requires works of from 12000 to
a maximum of 18000 words.
I cannot afford to pay a royalty or advance, as these
books will take a number of years to break even. Authors
will retain copyright on their material and a bunch of
copies to send to their colleagues. The only advantage
to an author is that they can have their work in print form in
a short time. I don't tend wait around or dither about for years
but like to make a quick decision then press on with finishing the
project. The books are in A5 format with a colour cover.
Black and white illustrations can be included in the text with
few restrictions.

I would hope to do another 5 to 10 titles over the next year,
so if you have any suggestions please email me.

Adam McLean adam@alchemywebsite.com

Subject: ACADEMY : Alchemy & European Bell Makers
Fri, 30 Aug 2002
From: William Hollister

Dear List,

Is there any history linking European bell makers with alchemy?

While collecting stories about bell-makers in Bohemia, I found
a poem by a bell maker included a book written by an
alchemist, although unrelated either to bell making or to alchemy.
The Prague-based bell maker, Brikci z Cimperku, contributed
a poem about food to Bavor Rodovsky z Hustiran's 16th
century cookbook.

Separately, I've been told that a painting exists depicting
Hapsburg Emperor Rudolf II with a "bell of seven metals."
I haven't been able to find this painting, or find the author of it.

Intuitively, it seems that bell makers, who spent their time
boiling tin with copper, might have either caught the attention
of "alchemists," or may have somehow been associated with them.

But I haven't found anything that links any of Europe's bell
makers with the medieval or renaissance alchemists such as
those who are discussed on this list. I would be grateful for any
information that even vaguely touches on the subject of
bell-making and alchemy in Europe.

With best wishes,

William Hollister

Subject: ACADEMY : Nicolas Flamel - Cimitiere des Innocents
From: Claude Gagnon
Sat, 31 Aug 2002

For the sun and the moon in many civilisations, there is the work
of H. Rahner, "Mythes grecs et mystères chrétiens", Paris,
Payot, 1954, p.104: "le soleil et la lune".

The definitive study of the Innocents cemetery of Paris is the
book of Michel Fleury and Guy-Michel Leproux ed.," Les
Saints-Innocents", Commission du Vieux Paris, 1990,
p.36: tombstone of Antoine Grenier et de Geneviève Bazin, sa femme;
p.40: tombstone of Nicolas Bourgeois et de Catherine Boucher,
sa femme, etc. are all like Flamel's and his wife's tombstone. Even
the testament of Flamel had the classic form and topics of his
class (bourgoisie montante). But the amounts involved are
inexplicable; no individual of that time had so much money.

Claude Gagnon