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Alchemy Academy archive
March 2005
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Subject: ACADEMY: Electronic Theatrum chemicum
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 2 Mar 2005

Dear Academy,

It is a pleasure to inform you all that an electronic facsimile
edition of the _Theatrum chemicum_ published by Lazarus Zetzner
which I have prepared (with a great help from my younger son)
is now available on-line. These are vols. 1-3 and 5 for
the time being, as these were accessible at the University
Library in Poznan - the director of which has kindly allowed
to digitize them. I will now try to do the remaining volumes
in another library. Volume 2 of the above comes from the 1613
edition, while the others are from the last 1659-1661 edition.

For the sake of easy and fast access it has been placed
in the Digital Library of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland),

I will also add some introductory/editorial text and tables
of contents with links to individual treatises - but wanted
to let you know right away.

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY: Khunrath, Ether and Colloidal Gold
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: 2 Mar 2005

Dear Academy,

For those who are interested, my latest article ("Of Ether and Colloidal
Gold: The Making of a Philosophers' Stone") has been published in
Arthur Versluis' online journal Esoterica:

It primarily concerns the laboratory praxis of Heinrich Khunrath, and
also touches upon the various misconceptions propagated by
Laurence Principe and William Newman. I doubt if there would be
many in the academy who would agree with my interpretation, although
I am not the first to suggest that the manufacture of a "Philosophers'
Stone" in early modernity often involved the production of gold
colloids: Zsigmondy, Svedberg, Ganzenmüller and most recently
Priesner have done the same. Perhaps some of you will at least
enjoy the article, anyway.

Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY: Electronic Theatrum chemicum
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 2 Mar 2005

Dear Rafal,

Thank you very much for your message. It is an generous and impressive
work. Really useful.

> I will also add some introductory/editorial text and tables
> of contents with links to individual treatises - but wanted
> to let you know right away.

Have you read this paper?

CARLOS GILLY, "Sulla genesi del Theatrum chemicum di L. Zetzner
a Strasburgo = On the genesis of L. Zetzner's Theatrum chemicum in
Strasbourg", in: Carlos Gilly & Cis van Heertum (eds.) "Magia, Alchimia,
Scienza dal '400 al '700", Centro Di, Florencia, t. I, pp. 417-468

It is an exhaustive analysis of Zetzner's Theatrum.


José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: ACADEMY: Electronic Theatrum chemicum
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 3 Mar 2005

Dear Rafal,

Thank you really much for your contribution. I've just downloaded
your scan - it's just great, I've got this text at last!

Looking forward to getting hold of volumes IV and VI.

My very best wishes.


Subject: ACADEMY: Electronic Theatrum chemicum
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 4 Mar 2005

Dear José,

Thank you for your kind words.

>Have you read this paper?
>CARLOS GILLY, "Sulla genesi del Theatrum chemicum di L. Zetzner

Yes, I know this - most important and superbly researched - article.

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY: Masonic and Esoteric Heritage conference
From: Andrea Kroon
Date: 8 Mar 2005

Andrea Kroon, OVN.

Preliminary conference announcement.

'Masonic and Esoteric Heritage.
A New Perspective for Art and Conservation Policies'
21 October 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

OVN, Foundation for the Academic Study of the History of Freemasonry in the Netherlands,
Sub department History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, Dept. of Art, Religious
and Cultural Studies, University of Amsterdam, Chair for Cultural Heritage, conservation and
restoration, Dept. of Art, Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Amsterdam.

This conference will highlight the need for documentation and preservation of the cultural
heritage of Masonic and Western esoteric organizations (including 17th-20th century
architecture, lodge-interiors, ritual and decorative objects, works of art, prints, books,
archival and photographic materials). The emphasis will be on Freemasonry as an
organization with a particularly rich material culture, but other currents, such as
Hermeticism and Modern Theosophy, will also be discussed. The issues raised will
be relevant to the field of study in general. The aims of the conference are:

- 1. To introduce art historians, conservation specialists, heritage organizations and
cultural policy makers to the wide spectrum of the material heritage of Masonic
and esoteric currents and its important place within our western cultural heritage
as a whole;

- 2. To draw attention to the growing interest in this heritage category within various
academic research disciplines, and the need for an overview of the remaining
examples of Masonic and esoteric heritage on a local and (inter)national level;

- 3. To bring together experts in the field of cultural heritage and Western esotericism,
as well as curators of relevant collections, to address the problems concerning the
preservation of this heritage, in order to create an interdisciplinary dialogue, facilitate
solutions and stimulate research and education.

Since the 1970's there has been a growing academic interest in the study of so-called
Western esoteric currents. With chairs for the study of Western esotericism and
Freemasonry now established at the Universities of Paris, Amsterdam, Sheffield and
Leiden, as well as research groups at other European Universities, the field is now
widely recognized as a new academic discipline. The main European Masonic
libraries and museums are making their historic collections and archives accessible
through internet databases, facilitating research by students and scholars from
disciplines such as the Social Sciences, Study of Religions and Cultural Studies.
The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, a private collection available for researchers,
was placed on the official list of protected Dutch cultural heritage. The Theosophical
Society in the Netherlands has recently decided to transfer its entire historical archive
to the Amsterdam Municipal Archive in order to guarantee its preservation and
accessibility for future research. Recent dissertations demonstrate that esoteric
symbolism was an important aspect of the work of such celebrated artists as
Mondriaan and Picasso. All these developments are making us more aware of the
influence that esoteric organizations have had on the development of modern western
culture, and of the importance of these organizations' material culture as a research
tool and a part of our collective cultural heritage.

Within art history and heritage conservation, there is a long tradition of documenting,
preserving and restoring important examples of both religious, social and domestic
art and architecture. But since the study of Western esotericism and related currents,
such as Freemasonry, is a relatively 'young' academic discipline, questions
concerning their material heritage have failed to attract equivalent attention among
art historians, conservation specialists and heritage organizations. Insufficient familiarity
with the domain in question, not infrequently aggravated by prejudice, has played an
important role in creating this situation. The private and sometimes 'secret' character
of many esoteric currents was another important factor.

While it is widely accepted that world religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
and Judaism have profoundly influenced art, art historians have only just begun to
realize that the membership of such organizations, as Freemasonry and Theosophy,
has influenced many of our most celebrated artists in the same way. Most art
historians and cultural policy makers are unaware of the research that has been
devoted to the subject within Religious Studies in recent years, and hence are unable
to recognize related symbolism in a work of art or an architectural design. This can
have adverse effects on decisions that are made as part of a restoration process, or
as part of an application for alterations or even the demolition of a historic building.
Recent cases, such as the renovation of the building of the Nederlandse
Handelsmaatschappij in Amsterdam (designed by architect/freemason/ theosophist
K.P.C. De Bazel in 1919), illustrate how important it is to include interdisciplinary
co-operation between art historians, restorers and experts in the field of Western
esotericism in such a decision processes.

The conference organizers would like to make an inventory and compare the
current 'status' of Western esoteric heritage in different European countries.
The situation in the Netherlands will serve as an example in order to stimulate
discussions, since Masonic heritage has particularly suffered in this country's
past: from lack of knowledge, neglect, prejudice and destruction...

Most Dutch 18th and 19th century lodge buildings and their contents were demolished
during World War II following an explicit order by the Nazi regime. Other historic
property was lost in the bombing raids. Since 1945 many lodges have struggled to
finance the maintenance of their monumental buildings. Many have decided to move
to smaller, modern accommodations. When local councils and new private owners
fail to recognize the symbolism hidden in architectural design or interior decoration
of a former lodge building, important landmarks are unknowingly allowed to be
altered or demolished by city planners. The Freemasons Hall in The Hague was
housed in a building dating back to 1745, which was donated to the Order by its
Grand Master, Prince Frederik of Orange, in 1856. It was altered and extended
during the 19th and 20th century, and damaged during World War II. Its grand temple
was restored to its Art Deco interior after 1945. Unfortunately, this temple was
demolished in 1993 by the local council to make way for offices, while luxury
apartments were installed behind the historical façade. Today only a handful of 19th
century lodge buildings survive to document their important role within local, social
and religious history in the Netherlands. The now oldest surviving (intact) lodge
interior in the city of Dordrecht dates from 1837. The material heritage of
Theosophical organizations in the Netherlands has suffered a similar fate during
World War II. Little is known about surviving examples of the material culture of
other Western esoteric currents in this country.

The esoteric organizations that are currently active, are caring for what remains of
their 17th-20th century archives, libraries, ritual and decorative objects, art and
architecture. The costs of maintaining these to museum conservation standards are
high, while the expert know-ledge necessary for this maintenance is not readily
available within each organization. Subsidies are required to finance the care for
historic buildings and collections, but the criteria of many heritage funds (still)
exclude the needs of esoteric heritage. Now that the study of Western esotericism
is recognized as an academic discipline, it is becoming clear that its cultural heritage
deserves the same care and attention, which is already given to other examples
of art and monuments. New insights have to be implemented into conservation
policies, heritage laws or subsidy schemes. Important and positive turning points
were the recent subsidies given to the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in
London by the Heritage Lottery Fund and to the Cultural Masonic Centre 'Prince
Frederik' in the Hague by the Mondriaan Foundation and other national funds.

With so many new students and scholars devoting their research to this new discipline,
there is a growing need for information about its remaining heritage. But we lack
knowledge on how many historic buildings, interiors and objects remain of each
esoteric current, what their individual importance for our cultural history is, and to
what extend they are in need of conservation, since a national survey on the subject
has never been executed. It is of the utmost importance that Masonic and esoteric
monuments, landmarks, objects and other categories of cultural heritage are
documented and registered in the near future. For instance, stock-taking of Masonic
heritage on a local or (inter)national level, would make valuable information about
one of the most influential currents in European history available to researchers
of all disciplines, as well as heritage organizations and cultural policy makers.
Furthermore, information about the care and conservation of historic objects and
buildings needs to be made available to esoteric organizations and their individual
lodges, as well as the caretakers and curators of larger esoteric collections, in
order to help preserve a unique category of cultural heritage for future generations.
This conference will address these complex issues for the first time. (Details on the
location and attendance fee will be made available at a later stage.)

Keynote speakers will include:

- Prof. Andrew Prescott (Centre for Research into Freemasonry, Univ. Sheffield),
- Prof.dr. Wouter J. Hanegraaff (Subdept. History of Hermetic Philosophy and
Related Currents, Univ. of Amsterdam),
- Prof.dr. Frans Grijzenhout (Chair for Cultural Heritage, conservation and restoration,
Univ. Amsterdam / The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage).

Call for papers

Scholars of all disciplines are invited to submit paper proposals (of max. 250 words)
on related topics. All papers are to be presented in English in sessions of ca. 30
minutes. Participants are encouraged to illustrate their papers with slides or power
point presentations.The deadline for submissions is 15 April 2005. The organizers
aim to publish a selection of the presented papers in the conference prints. Papers
that are to be included will have to be made available to the editors before 1 August 2005.

Papers on the following topics are especially welcomed:

- the wide spectrum of the material heritage of Masonic and Western esoteric
currents (17th-20th century architecture, lodge-interiors, ritual and decorative
objects, works of art, prints, books, archival and photographic materials) and
its importance as a source for academic disciplines such as Social, Religious
and Cultural studies;

- the place of Western esoteric heritage within Western (religious) art and
social history in general;

- the deliberate destruction of Masonic and esoteric heritage following Nazi
orders in World War II and the long process of returning missing objects
and archives to their rightful owners;

- ongoing research projects concerning Masonic and esoteric architecture,
objects or collections that are at risk of alteration or destruction;

- interdisciplinary research into the influence of esoteric symbolism on the work of
artists, architects and designers; how new insights are of importance to the decision
process for restoration projects and planning permissions, and/or the policies of
heritage organizations;

- the need for documentation and registration of esoteric heritage on a local and
(inter)national scale; possible strategies to be followed in creating such a registration
or database; the future use of such data as a research tool and reference framework
for historical research or conservation decisions;

- ongoing projects, new initiatives and suggestions for co-operation between the
curators of esoteric collections and buildings and academic organizations in the
fields of Art History, Cultural Heritage and Religious Studies, that will help document,
preserve and restore Western esoteric heritage, and stimulate education;

- the need for (structural) funding of documentation, conservation and restoration
of Western esoteric cultural heritage.

For more information and submission of proposals, as well as preliminary
conference registration, please contact:

PO BOX 92004
NL 1090 AA Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: Adam McLean
Date: 22 Mar 2005

I recently began working on making a facsimile copy of the
well known portrait of Paracelsus by a 17th century artist
now in the Louvre. As this was made about 100 years after the
death of Paracelsus, I had believed that it was merely an
invention or romanticed picture of him.

Susanna Akerman kindly sent me recently a postcard of another version
of this portrait made by a pupil of Rubens. This set me off on a long
session trying to research the situation regarding the portraits of
Paracelsus. I discovered that there was another portrait in Belgium
here assigned to Rubens himself. As all three of these portraits
made in the 17th century show the same likeness, it appears that
they were copies of a portrait made by the famous 16th century
artist Quentin Metsys (c.1465-1530) who was of course a contemporary
of Paracelsus. Unfortunately this painting has not itself survived but it
is recorded.

What this means is that, rather than the likeness in the portraits being
an invention, it is likely that Metsys would have painted his portrait
from life, or at least from a memory of seeing Paracelsus. Metsys being
a very skilled artist would not have made a portrait which departed
from presenting a likeness of Paracelsus. So we may have in the
remaining copies a good likeness of Paracelsus.

I have started gathering together information on these
portraits and brought this together with the stylised images in
woodcuts and engravings which show the conventional image of
Paracelsus with his hand on the pommel of his sword. I have placed
this very provisional research onto my web site

I would welcome any information which might amplify this
material, or references to articles or books dealing with the
question of the portraits of Paracelsus. There is an engraving
which is said to have been made from a painting of Tintoretto,
but I have been unable to locate this painting. I did find a
portrait by Tintoretto related to this engraving, but it was not
titled as a portrait of Paracelsus, so this label may have been assigned
to it much later in the 18th century. Tintoretto (1518-1594) would have
been 23 when Paracelsus died in 1541 so it is just possible that he
saw Paracelsus and made a portrait.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: Hereward Tilton
Date: 23 Mar 2005

Do you know on what authority Paracelsus was supposed to have
some 'Azoth' hidden in the pommel of his sword?

Is it possible that this is part of Paracelsian lore, and that the
inscription of 'Azoth' on his sword pommel was originally a symbolic
representation of the action of Azoth? Or did Paracelsus himself
claim to have some 'Azoth' in there?

Hereward Tilton

Subject: ACADEMY: Vitriol
From: Kevin Ogle
Date: 23 Mar 2005

I am interested in the history of the Vitriol acrostic

"Visita Interiora Terra Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem",

found in the "Azoth" emblem series attributed to Basil Valentine.
However, it is not clear to me if this really dates back to the legendary
Basil Valentine of the 15th century. From the information I have found
on the Internet, the Azoth series seems to have been first printed in the
seventeenth century.

Can anyone clarify the origins of this expression - who, when and where?

Also, I have been told that an alternate version uses "Revertendo" in place
of "Rectificando". Are there examples of this from original alchemical
texts, or is it a modern invention.

Thank you,


Subject: ACADEMY: Vitriol
From: Adam McLean
Date: 23 Mar 2005

Carlos Gilly mentions this in the 1999 catalogue of the exhibition
organised by the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica and the
Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana :

Gilly and Gentile. Marsilio Ficino and the Return of
Hermes Trismegistus.

On page 205 in a section 'On the Tabula Smaragdina and
its alleged symbol' he points out that

"Towards the end of the 16th century it was understood that
the 'Tabula Hermetis' [here Gilly is referring to the 'Tabula
chemica' of ibn Umail] in no way fitted the text of the
Tabula Smaragdina and one [alchemists] began to search for a
more adequate symbol. It was finally found in the vitriol
emblem belonging to an alchemical poem, which in its
oldest form, (transmitted by Karl Widdemann in a Vienna
manuscript of 1588/89), is entitled Tabula Hermetis
Trismegisti... Ten years later the 'Aureum Vellus', Rorschach,
1599, printed the vitriol symbol with the accompanying text
[of the Tabula Smaragdina]."

Gilly then goes on to credit Joachim Telle for making this
connection in his book 'Paracelsistische Sinnbildkunst.
Bemerkungen zu einer Pseudo-'Tabula smaragdina' des 16
Jahrhunderts.' 1984.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 23 Mar 2005

Found another portrait.

Gravure originale anonyme du 16ème siècle (?) ayant appartenu à
Corolus Kiesewetterus

[This is possibly the Carl or Karl Kiesewetter 1854-1895 who wrote a book on
Paracelsus. The image on the web site does not appear to be a gravure
(engraving) but a coloured painting or lithograph.]

Jean-Yves Artero

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: J. Plattner
Date: 23 Mar 2005

There are a few portraits more in Lucien Braun's "Paracelsus" - eine
Bildbiographie, 1988 by René Coeckelberghs Verlag, Luzern. Usually
only the portraits made by Augustin Hirschvogel are acknowledged as genuine.

In the collection of this biography there are also engravings from Wenzel Hollar (?)
1627 and another one from Hans Holbein d. J. , about 1528.
A third engraving is of an unknown origin.

J. Plattner

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 25 Mar 2005

Found again another portrait:

See item 1 in

This one is by Johannes Sambucus (1531-1584), who was a famous
humanist at the royal court in Vienna, a historian of the emperor
Maximilian II, publisher of works of the Ancients, and creator of the
biggest private library in the world at that time.

Jean-Yves Artero

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 25 Mar 2005

There is an interesting painting by a unknown artist in Museum
Carolino Augusteum. The background had been identified as
Salzburg so it was presumably painted arround 1541. This image
is similar to the Augustin Hirschvogel portrait dated 1540.

See item 2 in

José Rodríguez Guerrero

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: Julie Hollingsworth
Date: 25 Mar 2005

Here is a one from the Manly P. Hall collection.
[Engraving from the collected works in Hall's 'Encyclopaedic Outline...']

See item 3 in

Julie Hollingsworth

Subject: ACADEMY: Portrait of Paracelsus
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 27 Mar 2005

Back to my first "portrait finding"; here is a bit more:
Carolus Kiesewetterus was not the author but the owner of the book
in which this portrait is to be found.

The portrait would be some sort of watercolour (?) painting and
could be stuck on one page.

For details see the items in the fourth section of

The book itself is a 1571 work in German, issued by Feyerabend
who was a publisher in Francfort am Main.
I do not know at the moment neither the writer, nor the title of this publication, but
it is obvious that Paracelsus is praised in it, from the very beginning.

Best regards,

[This will likely be :
Paracelsus. Astronomia magna: oder die gantze Philosophia sagax der
grossen und kleinen Welt...
Franckfurt am Mayn: bey Martin Lechler, in Verlegung
Hieronymi Feyerabends. 1571.]

Subject: ACADEMY: Claude d'Ygé
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: 27 Mar 2005

Dear members of the Academy,

The publishing house I collaborate with ("Aenigma" from Moscow)
is preparing a Russian translation of "La nouvelle assemblée des
philosophes chymiques" by Claude d'Ygé, and the editor cannot
find any decent biographical data of the author. I was not able to help
him much, because except for the fact that he was connected
with Canseliet for many years, I know nothing about him.

Any references to any publications and/or on-line resources are
very welcome.

Thank you in advance.

Gleb Butuzov

Subject: ACADEMY: Jean Pagez
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 29 Mar 2005

Dear All,

I am trying to find anything about a French author Jean Pagez.

He apparently wrote two books:

- L'Oeconomie des trois familles du Monde sublime, a scavoir
animale, végetale et minerale et particulierement de la Nature
de l'Homme contre toute Philosophie Naturelle, Alchimique,
Cabale, Astrologie Judiciaire, Chymie, Prédictions, Sortileges
et Athées (Paris 1626 & 1626)

- Les Essais... sur les Miracles de la Création du monde sur les
plus merveilleux effets de la nature (Paris 1631 & 1633)

The former is said by _Bibliotheca esoterica_ and by Duveen to
be anti-Khunrath and against alchemy, Rosicrucians, astrology etc.

I don't known what the attitude of the other one is, but judging by
the title it should be positive towards alchemy and "miracles of Nature".
The author of the former is spelt "Pages" while that of the latter - "Pagez".
They may or may not be the same person - Caillet (3:217) identifies
the author of the first work with a historian of the same name but born
in 1655, so obviously wrongly, but treats "Pagez" as a different person.
Ferguson (2:162) just says he does not know anything about him
(but thinks it is one person).

Maybe recent French research knows more about him? I am trying
to find out if he (or one of them) may have been the same as "Pagetius"
discussed in the _55 Letters_ of Sendivogius (which I now believe to
be pseudoepigraphic).

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY: Vitriol
From: Kevin Ogle
Date: 29 Mar 2005

So, if I understand this correctly, the Vitriol acrostic only dates to
the end of the 16th century.

Would anyone know the first reference?


Subject: ACADEMY: Vitriol
From: Adam McLean
Date: 31 Mar 2005

>Would anyone know the first reference?

>It was finally found in the vitriol emblem belonging to an alchemical
poem, which in its oldest form, (transmitted by Karl Widdemann
in a Vienna manuscript of 1588/89), is entitled Tabula Hermetis...

Gilly is a good researcher and I am sure he would not have used
the term 'oldest form' lightly !

This is

Vienna, Österreichen Nationalbibliothek MS. 11347 [Rec. 1387.]
1. f1-7 Hermes Trismegistus, 'Tabula, welche er nach der Sündfluss
im Thal Hebron solle gefunden haben.'

This also contains copies of the Alchemical Mass of Melchior
Cibiniensis, Lambspring, Sternhals Ritterkreig. With 18 works in

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: Claude d'Ygé
From: Mike Dickman
Date: 31 Mar 2005


The version of the Nouvelle Assemblée published by J-C Bailly has a
4-page introduction (signed C-J F) on Lablatinière or d'Yge... I can
possibly do you a translation if you're not in *too* much of a rush
(end of April/start of May)...