Alchemy Academy archive
July 1999

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Subject: Luther's views on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 4 July, 1999

I recently found this interesting quotation from Martin Luther's
'Table talk' in Lyndy Abraham's 'Dictionary of alchemical imagery'.

"The science of alchymy I like very well, and indeed, 'tis the
philosophy of the ancients. I like it not only for the profits it brings
in melting metals, in decocting, preparing, extracting and distilling
herbs, roots; I like it also for the sake of the allegory and secret
signification, which is exceedingly fine, touching the resurrection
of the dead at the last day."

This may reveal something of the Protestant attitude towards
alchemy during the 16th century.

Subject: Luther's views on alchemy
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999
From: Michal Pober

Adam McLean wrote:

>I recently found this interesting quotation from Martin Luther's
>'Table talk' in Lyndy Abraham's 'Dictionary of alchemical imagery'.
>
>"The science of alchymy I like very well, and indeed, 'tis the
>philosophy of the ancients. I like it not only for the profits it brings
>in melting metals, in decocting, preparing, extracting and distilling
>herbs, roots; I like it also for the sake of the allegory and secret
>signification, which is exceedingly fine, touching the resurrection
>of the dead at the last day."
>
>This may reveal something of the Protestant attitude towards
>alchemy during the 16th century.

I wonder what ideas people have or what resources are
available which provide an overview of the relations between
Christianity and Alchemy.

Recently I have been pondering this topic in connection with
John Dee and his adventures in Bohemia when not only was
he under intense scrutiny from Rome and encouraged to pay a
courtesy-call to the Vatican which he circumspectly rejected.
[Do we know when and how he knew of Bruno's fate?]

He also took considerable pains to cover himself by attending
Mass on occasion, both in Prague and in Cracow and having
his children baptised in the Catholic Church with extremely
eminent godparents. Then the famous 'book-burning' sequence
was obviously an angelic attempt to protect them...

At the same time when Rome demanded that he be expelled from
the Empire it was Vilem Rozmberk, also an extremely devout
Catholic who took him in. Whereas his brother, who was profoundly
involved with the Czech Brethren and had large gatherings in
Trebon which included figures such as Christian von Anhalt,
apparently pensioned off the alchemists when he took over the
Rozmberk title and lands.

This happens to be just the snippet that I am working with at the
moment and obviously staying within the Dee/Bohemia context
can lead one to speculate with F. Yates about the prefiguring of
the Rosicrucian impulse in Bohemia leading to the union and
sovereignty of Frederick and Elizabeth and the Battle of the
White Mountain.

But Adam's contribution has piqued my curiosity in a broader
sense. Is it fair to equate tolerance of alchemy with Protestantism
and the persecution of Alchemy with the Catholic Church?

My feeling is that its a much more complex topic than that.

Any thoughts out there!
Best Regards,
Michal

Subject: Luther's views on alchemy
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson


This is a topic of great interest to me as well, at least peripherally,
to my thesis on alchemical symbolism in hispanic literature. J. Garcia
Font's "Historia de la alquimia en Espana" is very interesting, though
not available to my knowledge in English. In Spain, where the
Inquisition was so strong at times, there were times when alchemy was
tolerated- in the court of Felipe II, for instance, a most Catholic
monarch (who built El Escorial), there were alchemists welcomed and
there are/were apparently texts in his library there. There was also
at least one papal bull in the 1300's (I can check which Pope if you
like) issued against it. I feel certain this is not a black and white
issue, and didn't get the impression Adam meant it that way in his
comments on Luther. One way to perhaps get more information is through
the library at the University of Notre Dame here in the States- they
have a large section on the history of the Inquisition, but I haven't
pursued it as it's a little beyond my scope of interest right now. If
anyone is interested I have a helpful contact name there via internet.
I think a lot through the ages has depended upon individual monarchs,
along with their relations to individuals, and their church
affiliations (whether in Spain or elsewhere). Felipe II seems to have
been motivated by spiritual rather than wealth concerns in terms of his
interest in alchemy (Spain was at the height of her economic glory
then, gold flooding in from the American colonies). Let me know if you
have any other questions; I'll see what I can find in my resources.

Best wishes,
Catherine Fox-Anderson

Subject: Series of books on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7 Jul 1999

I recently have bought for the alchemy research library a set of
little booklets edited by Patrick J. Smith and produced at a very
reasonable price by Holmes Publishing of P.O. Box 623,
Edmonds, WA 98020, USA. This particular series is entitled
'Alchemical Studies'.
Some of these are new translations, and all of them contain
interesting and useful notes.


Crassellame, Frater Marc-Antonio. A Light from Out of The Darkness.
On the Composition of the Stone of the Philosophers. Being an
Original Translation by Patrick J. Smith of La Lumiére sortant par
soi-même des Ténèbres ou Veritable Theorie de la Pierre des
Philosophes. Alchemical Studies Series 1.

Cyliani. Hermes Unveiled. Translated from the French by Partick
J. Smith. Alchemical Studies Series 2.

The Golden Treatise of Hermes Trismegistus. Concerning the
Physical Secret of the Philosopher's Stone. The Translation and
Commentary of Mary Anne Atwood and the Text of Barrett's Version.
With Additional notes by Patrick J. Smith. Alchemical Studies Series 3.

The Book of the Apocalypse of Hermes as Interpreted by
Theophrastus Paracelsus. A Hermetic Commentary. Translated
by A.E. Waite. Introduction and Notes by Patrick J. Smith.
Alchemical Studies Series 4.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus. Including the
Commentary of Hortulanus. Translated, with Additional Notes, by
Patrick J. Smith. Alchemical Studies Series 5.

Sendivogius, Michael. The New Chemical Light I. Treatise of
Mercury. Newly translated from Latin by Patrick J. Smith. Alchemical
Studies Series 6.

Sendivogius, Michael. The New Chemical Light II. Treatise of Sulphur.
Newly translated from Latin by Patrick J. Smith. Alchemical Studies
Series 7.

Philalethes, Eirenaeus. Secrets Reveal'd: An Open Entrance to the
Closed Palace of the King. Original Latin Translation Revised and
Corrected, with Notes and Commentary, by Patrick Smith. Alchemical
Studies Series 8.

Sendivogius, Michael. Alchemical Letters of Michael Sendivogius
to the Rosicrucian Society. Found in an old manuscript and
translated by Ebenezer Sibley, M.D., 1791. Corrected and Edited
by Patrick J. Smith. Alchemical Studies Series 9.

A Paracelsian Lexicon of Alchemical terms. Edited by Patrick J.
Smith. Alchemical Studies Series 10.

The True Book of Synesius. Translated by Richard Russell.
Edited by Patrick J. Smith. Alchemical Studies Series 11.

Subject: Luther's views on alchemy
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999
From: Michal Pober

Dear Catherine,

Thanks for your response on this. I waited a couple of days before
replying to see if anyone else would jump in on this but it seems
we're on our own.

>This is a topic of great interest to me as well, at least peripherally,

Likewise and I was not feeling like searching high and low for snippets of
information. I'm already doing enough of that with my current obsessions..
Which is why I was hoping for an overview or a reference to one. It seems
strange if there is no worthy text which covers the field.

>to my thesis on alchemical symbolism in hispanic literature. J. Garcia
>Font's "Historia de la alquimia en Espana" is very interesting, though
>not available to my knowledge in English. In Spain, where the
>Inquisition was so strong at times, there were times when alchemy was
>tolerated- in the court of Felipe II, for instance, a most Catholic
>monarch (who built El Escorial), there were alchemists welcomed and
>there are/were apparently texts in his library there.

This is certainly interesting. One piece of wondering that I was doing
was whether Spain and Rome had a different atitude in the late 16thC.
Specifically Rudolf II spent the greater part of his youth in Spain and
one of his confidants seems to have been the Spanish Ambassador,
San Clemente, who was in Prague until his death and he was, at least
at the beginning, a successful intermediary between Dee and Rudolf.
Someone must have recommended him to Dee. Meanwhile Rome
was baiting traps and sending spies after D & K and eventually
prevailed on Rudolf to expel them.

Thank you for your other information too and I'm adding it to my
files but am still hoping that someone will come up with a reliable
source for the big picture!
This issue came up for me because I was working with people who
seemed to be making blanket assumptions about Protestant and
Catholic approaches to alchemy and I was looking for a judicious
overview without having to start from scratch..

Best Regards,
Michal

Subject: Luther's views on alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 8 Jul 1999

Michal Pober wrote:

>Which is why I was hoping for an overview or a reference to one. It seems
>strange if there is no worthy text which covers the field.
> but am still hoping that someone will come up with a reliable source for
>the big picture!
>This issue came up for me because I was working with people who seemed to
>be making blanket assumptions about Protestant and Catholic approaches to
>alchemy and I was looking for a judicious overview with out having to
>start from scratch..


Dear Michal,

There is always a great danger in seeking the 'big picture'. True research
is a matter of investigating painstaking detail. It is especially true of
alchemy, which has not received intense attention of scholarship over
the years, in that there are many people ready to jump to formulate a 'big
picture' on the basis of inadequate information.

There is much danger in simplifying the relationship between alchemy
and the Catholic and various Protestant traditions, or in having a
view based upon one's own religious affiliations.

I remember the Cesky Krumlov conference, which was devoted to
Rosicrucianism, was very much dominated by ideas that
Protestantism represented freedom and Catholicism some kind
of repressive authority. I remember during my talk, when in
discussing alchemical source material, I dared to suggest that
the Frances Yates thesis had many flaws and needed some
re-evaluation, that the audience immediately took a deep intake
of breath. They wanted the 'big picture' presented by Frances
Yates and felt uncomfortable when I challenged their belief
system. I didn't make this challenge out of contrary beliefs, but
because I had become aware of the problems inherent in Frances
Yates's 'big picture' expressed in her 'Rosicrucian Enlightenment'.

It seems that alchemists rarely intruded into everyday religious
beliefs. Their writings are also often allegorical and did not often
directly challenge Church authority, so there does not seem to be a
strongly concerted Church reaction to alchemy over the centuries.
Alchemists were often attacked for fraudently producing or
adulterating gold, because of the danger they might bring to
undermine the currency and the social structure of the time.
Different church leaders responded to events at their time in
different ways. Thus some Popes supported and even took an
interest in alchemy, while others were quite negative. The same
applied to different Protestant Princes in the 16th and 17th
centuries. We must look to the detail as there is no general
unified 'big picture'. The truth always lies in the detail, not
in generalisations.

I did not post the Martin Luther quotation to develop a debate
about Catholic and Protestant attitudes to alchemy, but only
because I did not remember seeing this before and I found
it interesting that Luther had expressed himself in such a
positive way about alchemy.

Adam McLean


Subject: Alchemical influences in Western literature
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999
From: Anna Hedigan

Re. Catherine's question 17th June -

>6. Alchemical influences in Western literature? Donne, Goethe,
>Milton, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Shakespeare ,etc.

Have followed the postings re. Luther's views on alchemy with
interest, and can respond to the question of Protestantism and
alchemy with the specific references in the poetry and prose of
John Donne to alchemical process and Paracelsian concepts.
These references become more explicit and esoteric in his
later years, when as Dean of St Pauls he employed alchemical
imagery (no evidence that Donne ever practiced alchemy) in
his weekly sermons, and in the Holy Sonnets. An apostate and
career cleric, Donne had no qualms about using obvious
alchemical references for the purposes of exegesis.

From the sermons;

"Therefore David who was metal tried seven times in the fire, and
desired to be such gold as might be laid up in God's treasury,
might consider, that in the transmutation of metals, it is not
enough to come to a calcination or a liquefaction of the metal...
nor to an ablution, to sever dross from pure, not to a transmutation,
to make it a better metal, but there must be a fixion, a settling
thereof, so that it shall not evaporate into nothing, nor return to
his former state. Therefore he saw that he needed not only a
liquefaction, a mealting into tears, not only an ablution, and a
transmutation, those he had by this purging and this washing...
but he needed fixionem, and establishment.
Or here, where the action of the Stone in transmutation parallels
the redemptive mission of Christ and the healing power of His
sacrificial blood as the Philosopher's Stone...has virtue by
means of its tincture and its developed perfection to change
other imperfect and base metals into pure gold, so our Heavenly
King and fundamental Corner Stone, Jesus Christ, can alone
purify us sinners and imperfect men with His Blessed
ruby-colored Tincture, that is to say, His Blood."


To think of these words preached from the pulpit of great St
Pauls to a congregation challenged my own ideas of alchemical
knowledge as hidden, unknown to a wider audience, and
heretical in the eyes of the church!.

As a poet, he recognises and laments the loss of the analogical
world in his Anniversary poems. Bacon may have complained
that alchemists had "spoiled the elegance and distorted the
meaning" of analogy and correspondence, but for Donne the
"new Philosophie" of a dehumanised cosmos where matter
obeys its own laws, not man's or God's, was abhorrent.

"What Artist now dares boast that he can bring
Heaven higher, or constellate any thing,
So as the influence of those starres may bee
Imprisoned in an Herbe, or Charme, or Tree,
And doe by touch, all which those starres could do?
The art is lost, and correspondence too."

Donne also used a sophisticated trophes based on Paracelsian
mumia, which I won't go into here. A close reading of the stages
of the work are evident in his delineation of a holy melancholia,
a sorrow following God, quite distinct from the sorrow Luther
characterised as the balneum Diaboli. An example from the
Holy Sonnet beginning "Oh my blacke Soul!" finds the protagonist
searching for a devout melancholy which is the nigredo in a true
repentance for sin.

"Oh make thy selfe with holy mourning blacke,
And red with blushing, as thou art with sinne;
Or wash thee in Christs blood, which hath this might
That being red, it dyes red soules to white."

Donne used alchemical and Paracelsian sources because they
reassured him in their confident appraisal of the cosmos, giving
all a weighting, a significance. The hidden world of
correspondences the adept accessess as an aid to his craft
confirmed for Donne that God was looking after his people. All
hierarchical ideologies work towards His presence at the apex.

This posting is a bit of a gloss, and it has been a few years since
I have studied in earnest, but I would be happy to go offline if
anyone would like to discuss Donne further.

Other than Donne's essays, letters, poems and sermons (the
sermons alone are ten volumes), some more unusual sources
are:

Keller, J.R. The Science of Salvation: Spiritual Alchemy in Donne's
Final Sermon. The Sixteenth Century Journal. 23, Autumn 1992.
pp 44-60

Rudnytsky, P.L. The Sight of God: Donne's Poetics of Transcendence.
(no reference)

Stein, A. Donne's Obscurity and the Elizabethan Tradition. English
Literary History. 13, pp 104 -118.

Brann, N.L. Alchemy and Melancholy in Medieval and Renaissance
Thought: A Query in to the Mystical Basis of their Relationship.
Ambix, 32, 3 Nov 1985. pp. 128-154,


Subject: Alchemical influences in Spanish classical literature
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999

Catherine Fox-Anderson asked:

>What about Spanish alchemy?
>What about alchemical influences in Western literature? Donne,
>Goethe, Milton, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Shakespeare ,etc.


The "Azogue" web site have on-line a catalogue of the doctoral
theses about alchemy issued in Spanish universities (post-1976).
You can find information about: author, an explanatory note, University,
Faculty, Department... Many of the works are unpublished but there are
copies in the libraries of these universities.

About the alchemical influences in Spanish classical literature I suggest:

Pilar Alonso Palomar: " DE UN UNIVERSO ENCANTADO A UN
UNIVERSO REENCANTADO: MAGIA Y LITERATURA EN LOS
SIGLOS DE ORO". Universidad de Valladolid. Facultad de Filosofía
y Letras. (With many resources detailing the influences of alchemy,
kabbala and astrology in Spanish literature between 1500-1700. Great!)

J. Enrique Laplana Gil. " EDICION Y ESTUDIO DE LA OBRA
LITERARIA DE AMBROSIO BONDIA". (Hermetic and alchemical
symbolism in a book of Ambrosio Bondia (17th century): "La Citara
de Apolo y Parnaso en Aragón". Zaragoza, D. Dormert, 1650. )


There are theses about the alchemical influences in hispano-american
authors:

José Antonio Donal Liz." LA NARRATIVA DE ALVARO CUNQUEIRO".
Universidad de Oviedo. Facultad de Filología.

M. Josefa Vázquez de Parga Chueca. " LA HISTORIA EN LA
BUSQUEDA DEL ABSOLUTO EN LA OBRA DE MARGARITA
YOURCENAR". Universidad de Salamanca. Facultad de Filología.

Evangelina Becerra Gáez. " APROXIMACION PSICO-ANALITICA A
LA OBRA DE GUSTAVO ALVAREZ GARDEAZABAL". Universidad
Complutense de Madrid. Facultad de Filología.

Benjamín López Sánchez. "JUAN EDUARDO CIRLOT [COMPLEXIO
OPPOSITORUM]". Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Facultad
de Ciencias de la Información.

Fernando Romo Feito. " LA POESIA DE MIGUEL LABORDETA
(CONTRIBUCION AL ESTUDIO DE SU LENGUAJE POETICO)".
Universidad de Zaragoza. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras.

Isabel Hierro Foncea. " LA INTERRELACION SIMBÓLICA EN LA
OBRA DE ROSA CHACEL: BARRIO DE MARAVILLAS, CLAVE
INTERPRETATIVA". Universidad de Málaga. Facultad de
Filosofía y Letras.


List of the doctoral theses about alchemy issued in the spanish
universities (post-1976) in:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Runway/1947/tesis.htm

"Catálogo Bibliográfico Azogue". Bibliography of Spanish Alchemy:
Spanish books, theses, manuscripts in Spanish librairies, etc. (Under
construction):

http://personal2.redestb.es/emclmffgm/libros.htm

Yours faithfully,

José Rodríguez Guerrero
Toledo (Spain)

Subject: Holger Rosenkranz - Danish alchemist
From: Adam McLean
Date: 14th Jul 1998

I recently posted some information on Holger Rosenkranz. A
Swedish colleague of mine, Susanna Akerman, today sent me
some further information on this person.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Holger Rosencrantz is well known since his father Jörgen provided
the names for Shakespeare's figures in Hamlet. Ron Heisler
shows that a reproduction of the coat of arms of Rosencrantz
and Gyllenstierna was sent by Tycho Brahe to England from
where Shakespeare could have got their names. In August I
shall do some research in Riksarkivet and try to copy the
illegibly written "Paradossi chimici" in Queen Christina's hand.
I shall then investigate what happened to Rosencrantz' books.
The rare copy of the "De stella nova" by Tycho Brahe at Kungliga
vetenskapsakademin is printed at Uraniborg and may derive
from the Danish warbooty. There is only one other copy of this
version, now in the US. It has Tycho Brahe's very lengthy censure
of prophets on the new star. I wonder if Jörgen Rosencrantz
was involved in the Danish delegation to Lüneburg in 1586 when
the "militia evangelica" was discussed according to Simon Studion.
As I have found and show in my book 'Rose Cross Over the Baltic',
the prophet Paul Grebner writes of the Lüneburg meeting and
states that Thomas Bodley was there from the English side. I
wonder what emissaries the Danes sent, a question that
probably can be resolved by a search in Danish state papers.

As for Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie I can only say that he was
a worldly courtier and soldier. His father though Jacob de la
Gardie was involved in alchemy and was also the dedicatee in
ca. 1630 together with Axel Oxenstierna of Johannes Bureus'
mystical work on the Runes - "Adulruna rediviva" with its norm
for the runes inspired by John Dee's Monas. The books at
Skokloster castle include the books of the noble Brahe family (not
related directly to Tycho). Abraham Brahe, who was an alchemist,
was an aquaintance of Johannes Bureus and owned copies of
the Rosicrucian Fama and Confessio. Apparently the collection
holds Rosencrantz books as well. To visit the collection one has
to go to the castle itself one hour drive north of Stockholm, or
preferably by boat!

Subject: Alchemical influences in Spanish classical literature
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Saludos Jose-

Debe ser un caso de la sincronicidad, o algo asi-

It must be a case of synchronicity, or something like that, as just
today I found these very listings at the AZOGUE site. I am printing
this summary; it will make it much easier next time I'm at the
University. Perhaps the Interlibrary Loan can help me get, at the very
least, a summary of these. Once my own thesis is finalized, I'd be
glad to share its title and a summary of its content. I look forward
to spending more time at your web site as well as this one. Muchisimas
gracias por todo.

Catherine Fox-Anderson

Subject: Alchemical influences in Western literature
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Dear Anna,
Thank you very much for this reference. I have used Purificacion
Ribes' translation and analysis of Donne's works. She does mention his
connection to alchemy without stating that he was a laboratory
practioner per se- at the very least his interest seems metaphysical.
She cites, which I cannot comment on,
Edgar Hill Duncan, "Donne's Alchemical Figures"
ELH, 9, 1 (march, 1942), pags. 257-85
and
Joseph Antony Mazzeo, "Notes on John Donne's Alchemical Imagery", Isis,
48 (1957), pags. 103-23.

These seem a little dated perhaps, but let me know if you find them of
interest. Thank you very much for your time. You may contact me
foxanderson@yahoo.com
if you'd ever like.

Sincerely
Catherine Fox-Anderson

Subject: Alchemical influences in Spanish classical literature
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Dear Jose-
Posdata:
A few questions just came to me:
1. I understand that Toledo was a site for many cross-cultural,
cross-religious translations. Were any of these texts
alchemical/hermetic in nature? Are they still in Toledo?
2. Are there, besides J. Garcia Font, any scholars of Spanish alchemy,
(including any possible manifestions of it in the colonies, especially
Mexico) that I should be aware of?
3. Could you comment on the present day status of interest and
activity in alchemy in Spain? By this I mean laboratory and
metaphysical students of the art.

You may either answer to this forum if you feel it's appropriate, or
off line
foxanderson@yahoo.com
Any perspective you might be able to share would be most
appreciated.
Otra vez, mil gracias.

Catherine Fox-Anderson

Subject: Newton and the Emerald Tablet
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18th Jul 1999

Has anyone seen a transcription of Newton's
Commentary on the Emerald Tablet, which is in
Ms Keynes 28 in Cambridge?

Someone recently sent me a copy of Newton's
translation of the Emerald Tablet, and I wonder if this
was taken from the Keynes manuscript.


Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
That wch is below is like that wch is above & that wch is above
is like yt wch is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.
And as all things have been & arose from one by ye
mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one
thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath
carried it in its belly, the earth its nourse.
The father of all perfection in ye whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Seperate thou ye earth from ye fire, ye subtile from the
gross sweetly wth great indoustry.
It ascends from ye earth to ye heaven & again it desends
to ye earth and receives ye force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world
& thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. ffor it vanquishes every
subtile thing & penetrates every solid thing.
So was ye world created.
From this are & do come admirable adaptaions whereof
ye means (Or process) is here in this.
Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three
parts of ye philosophy of ye whole world.
That wch I have said of ye operation of ye Sun is
accomplished & ended.

Subject: Newton and the Emerald Tablet
From: Adam McLean
Date: 18th Jul 1999

>Has anyone seen a transcription of Newton's
>Commentary on the Emerald Tablet, which is in
>Ms Keynes 28 in Cambridge?


Found it !

It is in Dobbs 'The Janus faces of genius'.


Subject: Lumen Luminum
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Arnau de Vilanova's Lumen Luminum listed in the Alchemy site as
translated by Santiago Jubany appears to be written in older (1500's?)
Spanish. Was this text originally in Latin, did Jubany translate it
from latin to period castillian? Is this in its original language?

Thank you very much,
Catherine Fox-Anderson

Subject: Holger Rosenkranz - Danish alchemist
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999
From: Ed Thompson

Glancing though the Alchemy-Academy archive this morning I
noticed that the name of Holger Rosenkranz had cropped up.
While I can't see any alchemical significance, it might be worth
adding that Rosenkrantz was one of the people to whom Joachim
Morsius send a copy of Andreae's 'Imago' and 'Dextera' in 1620;
Morsius was thus placing Rosenkranz on much the same
level of influence as Herzog August of Luneburg, the Landgraf of
Hessen-Kassel, Crown Prince Frederick of Norway, Prince
Ludwig of Anhalt, Johan Adler Salvius (the Swedish secretary
of state) etc.

Ed. Thompson


Subject: Lumen Luminum
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999
From: Adam McLean


>Arnau de Vilanova's Lumen Luminum listed in the Alchemy site as
>translated by Santiago Jubany appears to be written in older (1500's?)
>Spanish. Was this text originally in Latin, did Jubany translate it
>from latin to period castillian? Is this in its original language?


Dear Catherine Fox-Anderson,

Perhaps you might care to write direct to Santiago Jubani. His
email is

Santiago Jubany

He is a fine editor and publisher and has issued many alchemical
items through his publishing company

EDICIONES INDIGO
Pere IV, 29-35, 6-2
08018-BARCELONA (SPAIN)


There is a listing of some of his books on the alchemy web site at

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

Adam McLean

Subject: Reusner's Pandora
From: Adam McLean
Date: 22 Jul 1999

Over the past few days I have begun making coloured paintings
of the series of eighteen woodcuts in the famous 'Pandora' of
Hieronymus Reusner printed at Basel in 1582. This series is,
of course, a version of the early 15th Century manuscript 'Buch
der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' or Book of the Holy Trinity. I took
a look at reproductions of a manuscript in The University of Basel,
Ms. L IV 1, UB, simply entitled 'Alchemistisches Manuscript'. It
was immediately obvious to me that these coloured drawings
were the original for the woodcuts in Reusner's 'Pandora', rather
than their being directly derived from an early manuscript of the
'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit'.

Adam McLean

Subject: Liber Hermetis - Emerald Table
From: Adam McLean
Date: 26 Jul 1999

A few days ago I discovered an excellent article on
the Emerald Table. I don't know how I managed to miss
finding this item. It is in the Proceedings of the Royal Society
of Medicine.

Steel, Robert and Singer, Dorothea Waley.
The Emerald Table.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine - Section of the
History of Medicine. 1928. p485-501.

This gives an excellent overview of the history of the
Emerald Table, and includes a transcription of the Liber Hermetis
from MS Arundel 164 in the British Library, in which the Emerald
Table appears. The 'Liber Hermetis' is especially interesting in
it contains a line by line commentary on the Emerald Table. It is
not very long, just over 2000 words in Latin, but my Latin is not
good enough for me to translate it easily or accurately.

I wonder if anyone knows of a version of the 'Liber Hermetis'
in English?

Adam McLean


Subject: Liber Hermetis - Emerald Table
From: Iain Jamieson
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999

Dear Adam

As far as I am aware this short text has not received an English
translation. The original Latin appears to be a translation from
an unknown Arabic original, and a number of Islamic authors
are quoted in the commentary. It numbered 26 in Singer's
'Catalogue of Latin and vernacular alchemical manuscripts', which
also lists a commentary, no 27, by one Archilleus philosophus,
entitled 'De corporibus et spiritibus'. The earliest mss. of this
are 14th cent.

The 'Liber Hermetis' contains a long extract (p. 496 ff.) from a
dialogue between Abhazra or Maharin and Fladien, which connects
it with 'Liber rebis' (Singer no. 28). An extract from the beginning of
this text is printed, with commentary, as part of an appendix to
'Liber definitionum' of Rosinus (i.e. Zosimos) in 'Artis auriferae', 1,
333-335. These works all seem to be translations or adaptations
from the Arabic and may have their roots in earlier Greek alchemy.

Martin Plessner, 'Neue materialien zur geschichte der Tabula
Smaragdina', Der Islam, 16 (1927), 77-113, which forms a supplement
to Ruska's classic study on the Emerald Table, has (pp. 109 ff.)
some notes on the 'Liber Hermetis'. The version of the 'Tabula'
contained in the 'Liber Hermetis' is different from that found in the
'Secreta secretorum' of the pseudo-Aristotle (as edited by Roger
Bacon), and that found in the 'Sirr al-Khaliqa' (Secret of Creation),
ascribed to Balinas (Apollonius of Tyana).

The latter work was also translated into Latin See: F. Nau,
'Une ancienne traduction Latine du Belinous Arabe', Revue de
l'Orient Chretien, 12 (1907), 99-106. The Latin text of this version
of the 'Tabula' is on p. 105.

Iain Jamieson


Subject: Liber Hermetis - Emerald Table
From: Mon, 26 Jul 1999
Date: Khem Caigan

I purchased a copy of a 'Liber Hermetis' last year, from Spica
Publications. Their URL is http://www.spica.com.au . It's a translation
of the 'Liber Hermetis Trismegisti' by Robert Zoller, edited by Robert
Hand, and first published by The Golden Hind Press for Project
Hindsight.

I checked the Index for any references to the Emerald Tablet; there
were none. If you can supply the page number, I'll check again. But I'm
not at all certain that we're talking about the same book - this one is
primarily astrological.

Khem Caigan

Subject: Liber Hermetis - Emerald Table
From: Mon, 26 Jul 1999
Date: Adam McLean

Khem Caigan wrote:-

>I purchased a copy of a 'Liber Hermetis' last year, from Spica
>Publications. It's a translation of the 'Liber Hermetis Trismegisti'
>by Robert Zoller, edited by Robert Hand, and first published by
>The Golden Hind Press for Project Hindsight.
>I checked the Index for any references to the Emerald Tablet;
>there were none... I'm not at all certain that we're talking about the
>same book - this one is primarily astrological.

Indeed, this is an entirely different work. As you correctly note
this is an astrological text rather than a hermetic one.

Adam McLean

Subject: English licence to practice alchemy
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999
From: Jeannie Radcliffe

Recently I came across the mention of two English
alchemists namely Sir Thomas Assheton and Sir Edmund
Trafford, who were granted a licence in 1446 to
pursue 'unmolested' their search for the philosophers
stone. Does anyone know where I can find more
information on these two?

Jeannie

Subject: English licence to practice alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 27th Jul 1999

There was a similar licence granted by Henry VI in 1456 to John Fauceby,
John Kyrkeby and John Rayny among others. The original parchment of
this Patent Roll is at present in the Museum of the History of Science in
Oxford (MS. Museum 84).

The best source of information on this must be the article by

D., Geoghegan, A licence of Henry VI to practise alchemy.
Ambix 6 (1) Aug 1957, p10-17.

Geoghegan provides the historical background and also a transcription
of the Latin of the Patent Roll, a photo of the document, together with
a translation of the text into English.

The Bodleian Library on Oxford contains a copy of the Assheton/
de Trafford Patent Roll, in

MS. Add. C. 125.
[Certified copies in Latin, made in March 1676/7, of three Patent Rolls
relating to the Philosopher's Stone which was to transmute baser
substances into gold and silver.]
1. f1 Patent Roll, March 9, 1446 (24 Hen. vi), pt.2, membr. 14: to
Sir Edm. de Trafford and Sir Thomas Assheton.

A problem for alchemists in fifteenth century England was the Statute of
Henry 4th 1403-4. This stated "That none from henceforth shall use to
multiply Gold or Silver, not use the Craft of Multiplication: And if any the
same do, and be thereof attaint, that he incur the Pain of Felony in this
Case".

When one reads Chaucer's satirical remarks on alchemists in his
Canterbury Tales written between 1386-90, one can see the background
to the issuing of this Statute. It however seemed to prove too restrictive
and later in the century people were petitioning the King for a licence
that would enable them to practice alchemy legally. There appear to
have been at least 20 such licences issued. This Statute seems to
have quite quickly fallen into disuse and does not seem to have
affected people working openly with alchemy from the late 15th
century onwards. This Statute was not repealed till 1689, possibly
through the active petitioning of Robert Boyle.

Sherwood Taylor in his well known book 'The alchemists' has
some information on these licences in his chapter on 'The
English alchemists'.

The poem 'Liber Patris Sapientiae' in Elias Ashmole's
Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum refers to these licences,
see

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


15. Therefore kepe close of thy Tongue and of thy Hand,
From the Officers and Governours of the Land;
And from other men that they of thy Craft nothing know,
For in wytnes thereof they wyll thee hang and draw.

16. And thereof the People will the at Sessions indight,
And great Treason against the they wyll write;
Wythowt that the Kings grace be to thee more,
Thow schalt for ever in thys world be forlore.

17. Alsoe wythowt thow be sure of another thyng,
To purchase the Lycence of thy King:
For all manner of doubts thee schall betide,
The better thow maiste Work, and both goe and ride.


Adam McLean

Subject: English licence to practice alchemy
Date : 27th Jul 1999
From: George Leake

Adam McLean writes
>A problem for alchemists in fifteenth century England was the Statute of
>Henry 4th 1403-4. This stated "That none from henceforth shall use to
>multiply Gold or Silver, not use the Craft of Multiplication: And if any the
>same do, and be thereof attaint, that he incur the Pain of Felony in this
>Case".


If I recall correctly this statute originated in Parliament when one
of the Edwards hired alchemists to make gold from lead. Apparently
the threat of the Crown getting independence from the House of
Commons/House of Lords was enough to get them to draft this
legislation.

Subject: English licence to practice alchemy
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999
From: Deborah E. Harkness

Elizabeth I certainly was turning a blind eye to the statute in the
1560s when she ensconced (later imprisoned) Cornelius de Lannoy in the
Tower on his promises that he would turn base metals into gold. There
seems to have been some European anxiety at the time that one of the
royal patrons of alchemy might actually succeed and further upset the
currency market. There is a treatise from roughly the same period--for
the life of my I cannot recall the author at the moment, but one can
find it through Thorndike's History of Magic and Experimental
Science--that argued that any artificially made gold should not be
valued the same as naturally-occurring gold.

Deb Harkness

Subject: Saint Baque de Bufor
From: Hans H. Hammerschlag
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999

Dear forum members :

I thought that perhaps I could be lucky enough
to have any of you further additional information
regarding a XVIII philosopher by the name of

FABRE DU BOSQUET

(anagram of St. Baque de Bufor). Apparently
he was the author behind an anonimous work
entitled :

Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique

It has been reported that he belong to an hermetic
fraternity in Versailles and was also belonging to,
or acquainted with, the hermetic circle presided
by DOM ANTOINE PERNETY.

Any additional information with regard to this person
or his work would be greatly appreciated.

Hans H. Hammerschlag

Subject: Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique
From: Adam McLean
Date: Sat 31 Jul 1999


There are number of manuscripts of the

Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique


London, Wellcome Institute MS. 1781.
18th Century [c. 1775.]
Concordance mytho-phisico-cabalo-hermétique.

Glasgow University Library MS. Ferguson 331.
18th Century.
3. f9 Concordance Phisico-Mitho-Cabalo-hermetique.

Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
18th Century.

Library of Congress MS. Div., acc. 5644.
18th Century.
[This was from the Library of the writer General Ethan
Allen Hitchcock.]

Harvard University. MS. 24226.296
18th Century


The long description in W.J. Wilson 'Catalogue of
Latin and Vernacular Alchemical Manuscripts in the
United States and Canada', begins as follows:

"In two main sections : I. Concordance Phisico-Mitho-Cabalo-Hermetique
(B, f. 10a), an anonymous French treatise of the 18th century, based on
the discovery of oxygen (air dephlogistique) with its stimulating effects
on respiration, which led the experimenter to regard it at first as the
elixir of life, though the dangerous effects of too much oxygen forced
him to conclude only that the true elixir must be in some way a
derivative of air, whereupon he proceeded to study and summarize
from this point of view all the alchemical literature available.
Prefixed is an historical Discours Preliminaire (B, f.1a), apparently
by the same author, preceded by another Traite Preliminaire (A, f.1a)
apparently by a different author but chiefly rehearsing the same
ideas regarding oxygen. The Traite mentions Mesmer [1733-1815],
one Morelli, James Keir (?) [1735-1820], and Stephen Hales [d. 1761].
II. Another 'anonymous French alchemical treatise of about the
same period, De la vraie Connoissance de la Nature (C, f. 1a),
of the more usual mystical type, reflecting (C, f. 6a) the
mercury-sulphur-salt theory, and (C, f 15a) urging the breaking up
of elements into their primal "chaos." There is (C, f. 4a) a statement
of the theory that metals and minerals in the veins of the mines
grow and develop as do vegetables and animals."


I myself have not studied these manuscripts in detail, though
I have seen the copy in Glasgow.

Adam McLean

Subject: Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999
From: Mike Dickman


There is a bilingual version (French-Spanish) of the text available
from Ediciones Obelisco, Consejo de Ciento, 591,
Barcelona 08013 (ISBN: 84-86000-69-6). The introduction, by
Charles d'Hooghvorst, contains most of the available information
concerning this text (which was extremely graciously sent to me
some time ago by a member of our forum)...

m

Subject: Saint Baque de Bufor
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999


Hans said:

>Any additional information with regard to this person
>[St. Baque de Bufor] or his work [Concordance
>Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique ] would be greatly appreciated.


There is a bilingual edition (French-Spanish) of the "Concordance..."
with the "Traité préliminaire de physique":

Anónimo. " Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique".
Ediciones Obelisco. Barcelona. 1986. ISBN: 84-86000-69-6

Description of this Spanish edition:

First anonymous treatise:

a. Discours preliminaire [It's the presentation of the "Concordance..."]
b. Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique [with three
chapters: Analyse du mercure mythologique, Table d'emeraude
d'Hermes Trimegiste, Interpretation]
c.. Second Oeuvre [It's the second part of the "Concordance..."
and contained the chapter: "Resume des Changements progressifs
par ou doit passer la premiere matiere de l'ouvre hermetique,
pour atteindre au degre de dissolvant universel"]

Second anonymous treatise:

- Traité préliminaire de physique [It's a partial copy of: Fabre
du Bosquet. "Mes Idées sur la nature et les causes de l'air
déphogistiqué, d'après les effets qu'il produit sur les animaux,
en prolongeant leur force et leur vie". London. 1785. in-8. 110 pages.]

The editor said in the prologue that he transcribed an anonymous
manuscript. However he brought the manuscript to Claude d'Ygé
who explained to him about the real author, a french alchemist called
Saint Baque de Bufor (alias Fabre du Bosquet).



A year later I found a commentary about this Spanish edition in
the French review "La Tourbe des Philosophes". 1987. Nº 29.
ISSN: 0154-6325. pp 58-60. There are details about another
manuscript in a private collection (B. Renaud de La Faverie library).

This new manuscript contained:

a. A handwritten note by M. Lebel: "Différents manuscrits
incomplets traitant de la philosophie hermétique, provenant de la
Bibliothèque et collection de la Société du Grand Oeuvre formée
en 1769 au châuteau de Versailles par des Seigneurs de la Cour
et des Employés supérieurs, et dispersés au mois d'octobre 1789
par le peuple de Paris et recuellis par M. Lebel père-peintre de
fleurs à Sèvres en 1800"
b. Discours preliminaire
c. Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique. [with the
three chapters: Analyse du mercure mythologique, Table d'emeraude
d'Hermes Trimegiste, Interpretation]
d. L'epitre de Jean Pontanus, grand Philosophe
e. Suite de la Concordance Mytho-Physico-Cabalo-Hermetique,
par M. Fabre du Bosquet, gentilhomme de la Fauconnerie.
[It's the second part of the "Concordance..." and contained the
name of the author]

José Rodríguez