Alchemy Academy archive
November 2001

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Subject: ACADEMY : Conference on alchemy in medieval culture
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7 Nov 2001

A colleague has alerted me to a proposed conference organised
by the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine in Norwich .


'The rising dawn': the contribution of alchemy to medieval medicine
and intellectual life

Conference at the University Of East Anglia, Norwich,
21-22 March 2002.

For further information see

http://www.uea.ac.uk/his/wellcome/alchemy_call.htm



Subject: ACADEMY : Lazarus Ercker and Alchemy
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear Friends,
A while ago I discovered a very interesting reference to Lazarus Ercker
[assayer in the Czech lands in the Rudolf II period] also practicing
alchemy. Now I can't find any trace of it.
Does anyone, by any chance, have any ideas what it might have been..
I'm seeking this information in connection with the Museum, about which
more very shortly.

Best Regards,
Michal Pober


Subject: ACADEMY : Book of Philalethes
From: Adam McLean
Date: 11 Nov 2001

There is a rather rare volume of the works of Eireneaus Philalethes
published at Modena in 1695.

There is a copy in the Wellcome Institute Library in London,
but it does not have all the engravings which were
originally included in this work.

Does anyone know the location of another copy of this book ?

Here is the full title.

[Eireneus Philalethes]
Mercurius de Mercurio. Germinae Columbae & Maternae Aves.
Virg. Lib. 6. Aeneid. Mundi fundum si profundum laborando
inveneris crede mihi habes totum unde beari poteris. Anonimy
Philalethae Philosophi. Opera omnia, Quae adhuc otuerunt
cum 12, figuris aeneis, ipsius Philalethae, nunquam visis.
Mutinae [Modena], Typis Fortuniani Rosati. 1695. Superiorum
Permissis.

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Book of Philalethes
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001

Dear Adam,

There is a copy in the Biblioteca Estense, in Modena.


Author : Starkey, George.
Title : Anonymi Philalethae philosophi Opera omnia, quae
adhucinotuerunt cum 12. figuris aeneis, ipsius Philalethae, nunquam visis.
Publisher : typis Fortunati Rosati.
City : Mutinae.
Date : 1695.
Physical description : [12], 288 p., [4] c. di tav. : ill.
Note : "Le illustrazioni sono incisioni fuori testo". - *6, A-M12.


If you need information about reprographic services in
the Biblioteca Estense:

http://www.cedoc.mo.it/biblio/idconnector2.idc?nome=Estense
http://www.cedoc.mo.it/biblio/servizipubblico.htm
e-mail: biblio.estense@cedoc.mo.it


José Rodríguez


Subject: ACADEMY : Book of Philalethes
From: Eugene Beshenkovsky
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001

There is a copy in Germany.

Titel: Anonymi Philalethae philosophi Opera, quae adhuc
inotuerunt : cum 12 figuris aeneis, ipsius Philalethae, nunquam visis. -
Mutinae, Typis Fortuniani Rosati, 1695

Verfügbarkeitsinformation der Bibliotheken

< 18> Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek 'Carl von
Ossietzky'


Eugene Beshenkovsky


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001

Dear members of the forum,

I would be most grateful if somebody explained and/or
mentioned references concerning usage of the symbol of
Dolphin in alchemy.

Thank you and best regards.

Gleb.


Subject: ACADEMY : XVIIth Century alchemical medal
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001

Dear Adam,

I thought you and the Academy might enjoy seeing photographs
I have recently taken of an extraordinary XVIIth century Rosicrucian
alchemical medal which has been in my collection for many
years now.

You will notice that the Subject of the Wise or Philosophick
Mercury bears the same hieroglyph as that which adorns the
midriff of the beautiful Lady Antimony, in Romyn de Hooghe's
fine Emblem for the Currus Triumphalis Antimonii 1671
(see p.227 of my Golden Game.)





The central Rose represents, of the course the Philosopher's
Stone which bestows the Supreme gifts of God. On the reverse
the Divine Stone is represented by Christ at the well bestowing
the same supreme gift: "But whosoever drinketh of the water
that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall
give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into
everlasting life." John 4. 14.

There are many, many, more things to be discovered but
I leave the pleasure to do so to everyone's sagacity.

All the very best,

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY : Lazarus Ercker and Alchemy
Date: 12 Nov 2001
From: John Norris

Hello Michal,

This is John Norris in Prague.
I've been studying Ercker's book for several years. In it he
does praise the alchemists for their discovery of materials
and processes, but doesn't mention undertaking such practices
himself. However, in reading his text it is very apparent that he
had an amazing and thorough chemical understanding
of minerals.

A more concrete connection between Ercker and alchemy is
that he believed that when iron is placed into vitriol solution
[Cu, Fe sulfate], the resulting deposition of copper onto the solid
iron was actually a transmutation of iron into copper. He mentions
this in his book. As such vitriol solutions occurred in Kutna Hora,
this could also be interesting for you. Paracelsus mentions this
same reaction with vitriol solutions from Kutna Hora as well.

I hope this helps.

Take care,

-John


Subject: ACADEMY : Lazarus Ercker and Alchemy
From: Ahmad Hassan
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001

Hello John,

Your message brought into mind a passage that I had read
a long time ago in "A History of Technology", edited by
Singer et. al. Volume II, Oxford, 1956,
p.11 :

"When the famous mines there [in Spain], passed into Muslim
hands during the Moorish occupation, the output of .lead, and
other metals declined. The Moors then found that if water
containing copper sulphate is allowed to run over iron, pure
copper is deposited and the iron dissolved. As iron was
cheap and abundant in Spain, this discovery yielded an
efficient method of recovering copper from sulphide ore,
and direct mining of copper ore became less necessary."

Ahmad


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Gleb,

It's a long shot, but your question put me in mind of Shakespeare's
'Antony and Cleopatra' which has a number of alchemical references
and mentions a 'dolphin'.

The clearest alchemical image is in Cleopatra's words about Alexas,who
being so unlike Antony, "Yet coming from him, that great med'cine hath /
With his tinct gilded thee," (I.v.36-37). The next references occur in the
final act when Cleopatra extravagantly exalts Antony; "his delights / Were
dolphin-like, they show'd his back above / The element they lived in"
(V.ii.36-37. And finally, as Cleopatra prepares to die she achieves her
'exaltatio' with the words: "I am fire, and air; my other elements / I give
to baser life" (V.ii.388-9). I can mention too that 'Cleopatra Aegypti
Regina' with tambourine (as in the play) is included among the alchemists
in Johann Daniel Mylius's 'Opus medico-chemicum', 1618 (see Stanislas
Klossowski de Rola's excellent 'The Golden Game', 140. A dolphin is shown
in Goosen van Vreeswijk's 'De Groene Leeuw', 1674, in Stanislas' work, p.
248 and n. to ill. 422, where like Antony it shows its back above the
element of water signifying according to the note "the gradual thickening
of Mercury into paste until its final Fixation is a long operation
traditionally compared to a sea voyage in bad weather....".

Best wishes,

Michael Srigley


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Hans H. Hammerschlag
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001

Dear Gleb,

Not having at the moment the time to translate from spanish
to english two excellent articles on the subject, I only will refer
you and other forum members to these material. The first, on the
subject of the "Philosophical Fish" which I highly recommend,
written by Jose Rodriguez, a kind contributor not only to this
forum but to many of us in our search for serious alchemical
documents and sources, for which I always will be thankful,
and the second, written in two parts by a dear friend, under the
pen name of Dauphin Rouge, and dedicated entirely to the
dolphin symbolism.

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

http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/dakota/686/delfin1.htm

http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/dakota/686/delfin2.htm

If you do read spanish, but still have any questions regarding
specific meanings, I will be glad to help.

Hans


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001

Dear Gleb,

The dolphin is the symbol of the Sulphur of the Wise, the nascent
principle of fixity which appears on the surface of its Mother the
dissolved mercurial Sea. Observe how, in the third plate of the
Mutus Liber, the fishing couple are striving to capture it.

In French Le Dauphin was the title given to the Crown prince
and quite precisely indicates the importance of the principle
thereby designated.
(see Fulcanelli Le Mystere des Cathedrales p. 191-192.)

All the best,

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY : Lazarus Ercker and Alchemy
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: Michal Pober

Dear John,

Many thanks for your response.
You were one of my hopes for the information that I was looking for.
I'm still trying to resolve whether I suffered a fit of wishful thinking or
some other temporary derangement other than memory loss..

>A more concrete connection between Ercker and alchemy is
>that he believed that when iron is placed into vitriol solution
>[Cu, Fe sulfate], the resulting deposition of copper onto the solid
>iron was actually a transmutation of iron into copper. He mentions
>this in his book. As such vitriol solutions occurred in Kutna Hora,
>this could also be interesting for you. Paracelsus mentions this
>same reaction with vitriol solutions from Kutna Hora as well.

This is of course very interesting, as are the positive comments
re the alchemists' work that you mention.
Some time ago through the Academy I received evidence that
Paracelsus was getting vitriol from Kutna Hora.

Time that we discussed these matters in person! Yesterday
evening I was discussing that very possibility with Dr Karpenko.

Best Regards,

Michal Pober


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001

Thanks Michael,

Actually your reference to Shakespeare is encouraging!
The main point of my question was rather not suitable for academical
forum - during almost six last months I was meeting this symbol in
connection with my personality rather oftener than usual probability
allows - including my valises, which I've chosen when moving to
Montreal having purely practical purposes in mind, but in the end
I found an image of dolphin on the locks! In fact, my
knowledge of the subject is limited with the fact that in hermetick
tradition the dolphins symbol sometimes is equal to that of fishes,
but we know that the dolphin is much more clever being, and it can
exist both in water and air. The notion of Stanislas Klossowski
de Rola is very helpful in this connection.

Thank you and my best wishes.

Gleb.


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Gleb Butuzov
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001

Dear Hans,

Thank you very much for the reference. Unfortunately I do not
read Spanish (which I consider a serious disadvantage, and
I'm going to improve the situation right after I finish my avancé
French course here in the University of Montreal where I live now).
By the way, I have to thank Mr Rodriguez for his help while
preparing commentaries to my Russian translation of Flamel's
works which was published in St Petersburg earlier this year -
no doubt, his name is mentioned in "thanks to" section (Adam has
a copy).

My very best wishes,

Gleb.


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Adam McLean
Date: 14 Nov 2001

The dolphin is a rare symbol in alchemical emblems.
Indeed, I can think of few examples.

Stanislas Klowsowski de Rola mentions the third plate
of the Mutus liber.

I can only immediately call to mind the following from
printed books.

Engraving 1 from Azoth series, J.D. Mylius, Philosophia reformata, Frankfurt, 1622.
Engraving 3 from Azoth series, J.D. Mylius, Philosophia reformata, Frankfurt, 1622.
Frontispiece from Carl Herrmann Gravel, Fontina Bernhardi revelata, 1750.
The titlepage of J.B. Van Helmont, Opera Omnia, Franckfurt, 1682.
The twelfth image from Valentine's, Azoth.

Some of these are only dolphin-like and not necessarily intended
as symbolic references to dolphins as such. They seem to
appear as water monsters, or water beasts, sometimes with a
water or lunar queen riding upon their backs.

I feel sure that the symbolism of these water beasts is almost
entirely related to the water element. They play only a very
small part in alchemical emblematic symbolism.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Nancy Bell
Date: 14 Nov 2001

Gleb,

I do not know of any alchemical references, however, as a bit
of a symbolist I can point to some possible symbolic meanings
of the dolphin. The dolphin represents hightened sensitivity;
intuition; and acute senses, particularly hearing. In symbolism,
this would be a call of sorts to develop intuition or a "sixth sense".
Perhaps you can see if this fits with other information you gather.

Best,

Nancy Bell


Subject: ACADEMY : Lazarus Ercker and Alchemy
Bcc: ACADEMY
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: John Norris

Hello Ahmad,

I'm very glad that you brought up the subject of this reference:

> "A History of Technology", edited by
> Singer et. al. Volume II, Oxford, 1956, p.11 :

> "When the famous mines there [in Spain], passed into Muslim
> hands during the Moorish occupation, the output of .lead, and
> other metals declined. The Moors then found that if water
> containing copper sulphate is allowed to run over iron, pure
> copper is deposited and the iron dissolved. As iron was
> cheap and abundant in Spain, this discovery yielded an
> efficient method of recovering copper from sulphide ore,
> and direct mining of copper ore became less necessary."

I am also familiar with this interesting passage. Unfortunately, the
author of this article (Professor Bromehead) did not cite any references
for this fact or discuss what the Arabs interpretation of this reaction
might have been. Do you have any further information on this?

Thanks very much,

John


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Louis Bourbonnais
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001

These are not related to practical alchemy imagery, but are
closely connected to the alchemical world.

The dolphin is present in (at least) two engravings of the
"Songe de Poliphile". I use the Imprimerie Nationale's
recent edition of the Jean Martin's one of 1546. The two are
used within hieroglyphic rebus: one is located on f-11v (p45) and
is a symbol for "salvation"; the second on F-21r (p.71) as meaning
"quickness". I've check quickly in the Hierogliphic of Horapollo and
I didn't find dolphin references.

Manly Hall and mythologist agreed that the dolphin is also a
strong symbol of Apollo (as well as the raven). Manly Hall is adding
that the dolphin is also a symbol of Christ. It may be of interest to
check in the "Bestiaire du Christ" of Charbonneau-Lassay to check
this affirmation, and to learn more on the history of the Christ-Dolphin
link (if it is more than the Christ-fish association). Unfortunately, I do
not have this book and it is impossible for me to search it at the moment.

yours,
Louis Bourbonnais

N.B.: If somebody finds something more about the Hegel's triangle
that was discussed last week, I am very interested in this
question and should work more on it in my freetime over the
next month.


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: N J Mann
Date: 18 Nov 2001

Dear Gleb,

Also in a literary vein, straying from the strictly alchemical, W. B. Yeats
uses the dolphin as the carrier of the soul from one existence to the next,
in 'Byzantium' and 'News for the Delphic Oracle', which he took from
Mrs Strong's *Apotheosis and the After Life* (London: Constable, 1915),
drawing also upon the myths of Arion and Dionysus. 'Byzantium' in
particular is rich in alchemical imagery, as the souls arrive in Byzantium,
the symbol and city of philosophers' gold:

Astraddle on the dolphin's mire and blood,
Spirit after spirit! The smithies break the flood,
The golden smithies of the Emperor!
Marbles of the dancing floor
Break bitter furies of complexity,
Those images that yet
Fresh images beget,
That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.

'News for the D. O.' draws heavily on Porphyry's account of the
Delphic Oracle's account of the fate of Plotinus' soul. Yeats, working
as a copyist in the British Museum, had copied the Poliphilo.

Yours ever,

Neil Mann.


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
From: Kate Ryan
Date: 18 Nov 2001

Louis Bourbonnais gives three pages to the dolphin,
calling it the sailor's friend and saviour and guide of souls.
He also. remarks that the dolphin is a symbol of Christ. In my
copy of the Bestiary of Christ, Louis Charbonneau-Lassay
mentions "that on the agate pastoral ring of Bishop Adhemar
d'Angouleme whose episcophy was in the eleventh century, there
is carved the image of a dolphin twined around the trident, a
symbol of Christ on the cross. Between its clenched jaws the
divine Fish crushes the head of the octopus.. the victory of Christ
over Satan."

Also "on a tomb of the Romanesque period in Aix-en-Provence
two dolphins are depitcted, one devouring a fish, the other an
octopus"

He also cites an example from Don Leclerc, taken from Rossi,
of an antique seal embellished with a dolphin devouring a serpent.

Best,

Kate Ryan


Subject: ACADEMY : Symbol of Dolphin
Bcc: ACADEMY
Date: 19 Nov 2001
From: Pierre Stibia

Dear friends,

Fulcanelli developed large comments on the symbol of Dolphin
in his "Demeures Philosophales".

I have not this book here but as far as I remember he wrote very
interesting information concerning the meaning of this symbol in the
capters dedicated to the "Fontaine du vert-bois" and the Hotel
Lallemand.

Related to this matter, BEATRICE Guy, BATFROI Séverin wrote
"Terre du Dauphin et Grand Oeuvre Solaire", published by
Dervy Livres, Paris, 1976 which his dedicated to the Dauphiné,
the previous name of the district of Isère, Hautes-Alpes and
Drôme departments.

An other important point : "Dauphin" is the name of the successor
of the Roi de France, generally his elder son .

In France, there is a great number of fountains with this kind of
symbols : see the gardens of Versailles for instance.

Further investigations could be made in reading Don Pernety's
"dictionnaire mytho-hermetiques" and "Fables grècques et
égyptiennes".

Regards

Joel "Pierre Stibia"


Subject: ACADEMY : Pernety - Fables grècques et egyptiennes
From: Hans H. Hammerschlag
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001

Dear forum members :

I am interested to know if there are available translations
in either English or Spanish of the Fables grècques et
egyptiennes of Pernety.

I do have a copy of the limited edition (750 copies) book
published by Samuel Weiser, by the name of THE GREAT ART,
which includes a good part of the Pernety work in reference,
but would like to know if there are available complete translations
of this work.

Also I would be interested to learn about any other alchemical
publications authored by any members of the Illuminati of Avignon,
including the members that fled to England during and after
the French Revolution.

Thanks in advance for your information,

Hans


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
From: N J Mann
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001

I was wondering if anyone could help me with an alchemical
reference in a story by W. B. Yeats.

In "Rosa Alchemica" (1897) he writes of the book on the doctrine
and method of the Order of the Alchemical Rose. It is in a box
decorated with peacocks, and is compared to Splendor Solis:

"The first chapter described how six students, of Celtic descent,
gave themselves up separately to the study of alchemy, and
solved, one the mystery of the Pelican, another the mystery of
the Green Dragon, another the mystery of the Eagle, another
that of Salt and Mercury."

Later they jointly realised that "alchemy was the gradual
distillation of the contents of the soul" and are then instructed by
an old woman (an owl passes - Minerva/Athene?). She expounds
"the whole principle of spiritual alchemy, and bid them found the
Order of the Alchemical Rose" (Mythologies 283-84).

I am particularly interested in the four 'mysteries' referred to.
Yeats's knowledge of alchemy was probably superficial but
sound, since he was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn,
and other members were practising alchemists. Although the
general meaning of the terms is clear, does this grouping of them
have any particular source or meaning?

As far as I have seen, the Green Dragon is also a relatively
rare term, and Yeats might be confusing the Green Lion and the
Dragon, though it is used by Urbigeranus (in undetermined and
determined forms) in Aphorismi Urbigerani. Rafal Prinke also r
efers to a Green Dragon in "Hermetic Heraldry" on this site as
part of the "most beautiful example of hermetic arms . . . from a
German manuscript showing the Green Dragon biting its tail and
holding Red Roses in its claws, with the White Eagle and the
Phoenix or Dove above it" though its not clear where this is to
be found. (Is this related to the imagery of Aurora consurgens?)
Could this be interpreted as Dragon, Eagle and Pelican? and
would it have been possible for Yeats (an Irishman spending a
lot of time in London) to have seen either of these images in the
1890s?

I greatly appreciate any light that anyone can shed on this.

Yours ever,

Neil Mann.


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Neil Mann wrote:

> Rafal Prinke also
> refers to a Green Dragon in "Hermetic Heraldry" on this site as
> part of the "most beautiful example of hermetic arms . . . from a
> German manuscript showing the Green Dragon biting its tail and
> holding Red Roses in its claws, with the White Eagle and the
> Phoenix or Dove above it" though its not clear where this is to
> be found.

Oops... yes, didn't give the reference there. Poor scholarship!
I was referring to a drawing in a manuscript in the Jagiellonian
Library - if I remember correctly, Adam wrote a short article
about it in one of the early Hermetic Journals (in the Alchemical
Mandala series, I think).

The image is not unique, however, as I had a photograph of
an almost identical emblem and in colour from the BPH
many years ago. And it is basically the same scheme as
that in one of the heraldic emblems from Reusner's 'Pandora'.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Early history of alchemy in Europe
From: Adam McLean
Date: 22 Nov 2001

Can anyone recommend some reliable scholarly
analysis and account of the early history of alchemy
in Europe, say from the mid 12th century through
to the 15th.

I have recently been reading the excellent article
by William Newman 'Technology and Alchemical
Debate', in ISIS Vol 80, 1989, p423-445, and it raises
many questions. It may be that we have to reassess
some of the established preconceptions.

Much of the history of alchemy was researched in the
early 20th Century, by such scholars as Ruska, Partington,
Thorndike, etc. There seems to be a new resurgence
of scholarly interest in this area, with a number of
scolars contributing well researched articles revealing
new material, and challenging old assumptions, but
there does not yet seem to be a substantial work on
the early history.

I believe it is quite important to rexamine the roots of
alchemy in Europe, and I wonder if there are any
substantial recent scholarly writings in this area
that have escaped my notice.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY : Caprara collection in Bologna
From: Adam McLean
Date: 21 Nov 2001

Does anyone have any information on the Caprara collection
of alchemical manuscripts in the University Library in Bologna.

Is there any listing or survey of these, or perhaps an article
on the collection?

Adam McLean


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Neil Mann,

You raised the question of whether Yeats could have seen images
of the Green Dragon as an Irishman who spent considerable time
in London. In 1893 Yeats's friend W. E. Waite published Basil
Valentine's treatise, "Practica, with the Twelve Keys and an Appendix"
in his translation of the 'Musaeum Hermeticum reformatum' (Frankfurt,
1749). Both Yeats and Waite were members of the Golden Dawn,
and so was Dr William Westcott Wynn whose well-stocked library
in London was open to all members of the Society. On its shelves
was Basil Valentine's 'Triumphant Chariot of Antinomy, illustrated',
an English translation printed in London in 1678 (see George Mills
Harper 'Yeat's Golden Dawn' (1974) 290).

In my view, Yeats, as a member of the Golden Dawn which he joined
in 1893, was deeply versed in the alchemical tradition. In this Order
he was instructed in the history of the Rosicrucian Order and
Andreae's 'Chymical Marriage' was required reading for those
those who joined it.

Hope this is of help,

Michael Srigley


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
From: Henrik Bogdan
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001

Dear Neil Mann,

Regarding Yeats, Golden Dawn, and Alchemy:

In each degree or grade the members of the Golden Dawn
had to go through a prescribed course of study which included
subjects such as astrology, kabbalah, tarot, geomancy and,
of course, alchemy.

In the first grade, that of Neophyte, the alchemical subject of
study covered 'The names and alchemical symbols of the four
elements'. In the second grade, Zelator, 'The names and
alchemical symbols of the three principles of nature'; 'The metals
attributed in alchemy to the seven planets'; 'The names of the
alchemical particular principles, the Sun and Moon of the
philosophers, the Green Lion, the King and Queen'. In the third
grade, Theoricus, 'The Alchemical Sephiroth'; 'The meaning of
the terms Cucurbit, Alembic, Athanor, Balneum Mariae, Sand Bath,
and the Philosophical Egg'. In the fourth grade, Practicus, 'The
Derivation and Formation of the Symbols of the Planets with
their alchemical meaning'; 'General theory of Alchemical
Symbolism'; 'The various aspects of Alchemical Symbolism',
'Origin of most of the Alchemical Symbolism'; 'Meaning of
Mercury on the Tree of Life'; 'Meaning of the Alchemical Symbol
of Mercury on the Alchemic Sephiroth'; 'Symbols of the planets
bound in the Mercurial Symbol'. (Gilbert, The Golden Dawn
Companion, 1986, pp. 91-93)

Yeats passed through all these grades and eventually
proceeded to the 'Second Order'. Keeping in mind that Yeats
was examined in all these subjects, I think it is safe to assume
that he was well acquainted with alchemy, at least in the form
that was taught in the Golden Dawn.

Best wishes!

Henrik Bogdan


Subject: ACADEMY : Caprara collection in Bologna
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001

Dear Adam:

There is an article by Didier Kahn:
- DIDIER KAHN, (1994), "Le fonds Caprara de manuscrits
alchimiques de la Bibliotheque Universitaire de Bologne",
in «Scriptorum», nº 48, pp. 62-110.
(in french)

It is a well documented work. Kahn corrects some mistakes
that you can find in old cataloges (specially dating the manuscripts).


José Rodríguez


Subject: ACADEMY : Caprara collection in Bologna
From: Claude Gagnon
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001

Dear Adam,

There is indeed a very good recent survey of the Caprara
funds by Didier Kahn: «Le fonds Caprara de manuscrits
alchimiques de la bibliothèque universitaire de Bologne»
dans Scriptorium, tome XLVIII (1994,1), Centre
d'étude des manuscrits, Bruxelles.

You have everythig you need in there.

Claude Gagnon


Subject: ACADEMY : Early history of alchemy in Europe
From: José Rodríguez
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001

Dear Adam,

In my opinion there are no books on a "full history" of European
alchemy in the Late Middle Ages (12th-15th centuries). Only in the
last twenty years you can find a remarkable number of scholars,
some academical structures like the "Sociéte d'Étude de l'Histoire
de l'Alchimie" (CNRS France) and an increasing interest in
making critical editions of the medieval texts. I think with these tools
it will be possible (in the course of many years) to give in detail
the history of medieval alchemy in the European context.
You have to consider that the past "scholarly" approaches to
the theme of medieval alchemy were not free from defects. In order
to clarify this question, the historiography of the 19th and 20th
centuries was reviewed by Barbara Obrist. She makes manifest
the methodological problems and the good hits in scholars as
Berthelot, Kopp, Hoefer, Partington, Hopkins, Ganzenmüller, etc.

- BARBARA OBRIST, (1995), "Vers une histoire de l'alchimie medievale",
in «Micrologus», 3, pp. 3-43 [in French].

I send you recent articles and books with general overviews showing
alternative bibliography.

Concerning the reception of arabic alchemy in the West (12th and 13th
centuries):

- ROBERT HALLEUX, (1996), "La réception de l'alchimie arabe en Occident",
in: Régis Morelon (ed.), «Histoire des sciences arabes», t. III, pp. 143-154
[in French].
- RICHARD LEMAY, (1990-1991), "L'Authenticié de la Préface de
Robert de Chester à sa traduction de Morenius", in: «Chrysopoeia», 4, pp.
3-32 [in French].

In the first half of the 13th century there was a rich tradition of
treatises ("De anima in arte alchemiae", "Epistola de re recta", "Liber
septuaginta", "Liber experimentorum", "De aluminibus et salibus", "De
perfecto magisterio", "De semita recta", "Lumen luminum", etc.) with
recipes and explaining how to manufacture differents "elixirs" or
"Lapis philosophorum":

- M. PEREIRA, (1995), "Teorie dell'elixir nell'alchimia latina medievale"
en, «Micrologus», 3, pp. 103-148 [in Italian].
- ANDRÉE COLINET, (2000), "L'Anonime de Zuretti", Les Belles
Lettres, París [in French, great critical edition].

In the second half of the 13th century appears genuine Western
collections of alchemical recipes. In medieval classifications of
arts and sciences alchemy appears as an artisanal branch, as
a craft, which was defined as dealing with the artificial transmutations:

- JEAN MARC MANDOSIO, (1990-1991), "La place de l'alchimie
dans les clasifications des sciences et des arts à la Renaissance",
in: «Chrysopoeia», 4, pp. 199-282, cf. pp. 199-210 [in French].

Nevertheless, there was a popular controversy about the power of the
alchemical technology and the possibility of transmuting the "species" of
metals:

- CHIARA CRISCIANI (1976), "La quaestio de alchimia tra Duecento
e Trecento", en «Medioevo», nº 2, pp. 119-168 [in Italian].
- CHIARA CRISCIANI & CLAUDE GAGNON, (1980), "Alchimie et
philosophie au Moyen Âge. Perspectives et problèmes", L'Aurore /
Univers, Montreal [in French].
- CHIARA CRISCIANI (1981), "Labirinti dell'oro: specificita e mimesi
nell'alchimia latina", in: «Aut aut», pp. 127-151 [in Italian].
- WILLIAM R. NEWMAN, (1986), "The Summa perfectionis and Late
Medieval Alchemy. A Study of Chemical Traditions, Techniques,
and Theories in the Thirteenth-Century Italy", 4 vols., Ph.D.,
Harvard University, Department of the History of Science, cf. tome I
[in English, great].
- WILLIAM R. NEWMAN, (1989), "Technology and Alchemical
Debate in the Late Middle Ages", en: «Isis», nº 80, pp. 423-445
[in English].
- WILLIAM NEWMAN, (1991) "The Summa Perfectionis of Pseudo-Geber.
A critical edition, translation and study", E. J. Brill, Leiden [in English,
great critical edition].

Alchemist tried to respond by integrating alchemy into the institutionally
approved cosmological system, that is, into Aristotle's philosophy of
nature. By this way alchemists tried to develop a theoretical frame
capable of yielding coherent working models. However, it did not occur
without problems. The alchemist's pretention to be able to produce gold
raised the problem of transmutation of "species", which was, in Aristotle,
considered to be the prerogative of nature or divinity but never an
artificial operation. Usually, alchemists adapt the relationships betwen
art and nature, and exploit an image of nature's servant which work to
accelerate or complete natural processes.

- BARBARA OBRIST, (1996), "Art et nature dans l'alchimie medievale",
in «Revue d'histoire des sciences», 49, pp. 215-286 [in French, great].

But in the 14th century grew in volume the alchemists which attempts to
place their art in relation with a divine work, as we can see in treatises
of the alchemical corpus attributed to Raymond Lull, (cf. "Testamentum",
part I, chap. 78).

- MICHELA PEREIRA, (1992), "L'oro dei filosofi. Saggio sulle idee di un
alchimista del '300", CISAM, Spoleto [in Italian].
- M. PEREIRA, (2000), "Heaven on Earth: From the Tabula smaragdina
to the Alchemical Fifth Essence", en: «Early Science and Medicine»,
vol 5, nº 2, pp. 131-144 [in English].

During the 14th century alchemists focused their researches in a special
type of "elixir"; they said it was the best because it was an universal
agent. I think the most representative works in that sense are the
"Rosarium philosophorum" attributed to Arnau de Vilanova
(Incipit: Iste namque liber nominatur Rosarius...) and the
"Testamentum" attributed to Raymond Lull.

- MICHELA PEREIRA; BARBARA SPAGGIARI, (1999), "Il Testamentum
Alchemico attributo a Raimondo Lullo: edizione del testo latino e
catalano dal manoscritto Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 244",
Edizioni del Galluzzo, Tavarnuzze (Florence), [in Italian, great].
- MICHELA PEREIRA, (1995), "Arnaldo da Vilanova e l'Alchimia", in
Josep Perarnau (ed.), «Actes de la I trobada Internacional d'Estudis
sobre Arnau de Vilanova», t. 2, pp. 95-174 [in Italian].
- GIULIANA CAMILI, (1995), "Il Rosarius philosophorum attribuito ad
Arnaldo da Villanova nella Tradizione Alchemica del Trecento",
in «Actes de la I Trobada Internacional d'Estudis sobre Arnau de Vilanova»,
t. 2, pp. 175-208, [in Italian].
- ANTOINE CALVET, (1997), "Le Rosier alchimique de Montpellier,
Lo Rosari (XIVe siecle)", traduction, notes et commentaires.
Paris-Sorbonne U. P., París, [in French].

The hunt for this amazing universal elixir implies a considerable
extension of the alchemical literature since the first half of the 14th
century. In the 15th century philosophical Humanism and legal
Humanism presented the reaction of Italian writers to the extensive
alchemical background. In a philosophical sense Humanists
disputed about alchemy as a "true science" and, in a legal
sphere, they tried to determine jurisprudence on the
production of alchemical gold, silver and legal coins.

- SYLVAIN MATTON, (1995), "L'Influence de l'humanisme sur la
tradition alchimique", en «Micrologus», 3, pp. 279-353 [in French].

It is only a really short reference to the topic of the transmutation of
metals in the Late Middle Ages (the principal question in the
Newman's article "Technology and Alchemical Debate..."), but
Medieval Period involves other extensive fields, for example, the
relationships betwen alchemy and medicine, alchemy and religion,
alchemy and Church or ecclesiastic order, alchemy and popular
culture...

Regards,

José Rodríguez


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
From: Neil Mann
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001

Dear Rafal, Michael and Henrik,

Many thanks for your comments and help.

As you have commented, the Golden Dawn syllabus was quite
wide ranging and full on the subject of alchemy. I did not wish to
cast aspersions on Yeats's alchemical knowledge and the
importance of his reading, merely not to make too great claims for it.
At least W A Ayton was working with athanor and cucurbite and
MacGregor Mathers was very interested in alchemy.
As far as I can tell Yeats's only practical involvement with alchemy
was an abortive attempt at vegetable palingenesis.

Perhaps I am belittling Yeats's alchemical knowledge, since
he evidently knew Basil Valentine's Chariot of Antimony, the
Chemical Wedding, Solis Splendor and refers to Morienus,
Avicenna inter alia. He was also, however, capable of mixing up
Nicholas Flamel and Ramón Lull, writing of "Raymond Lully and
his wife Pernella".

With respect to the Green Dragon itself, I am trying to find out
more on this particular detail for a colleague who is working
on a new scholarly edition, and to see whether it is likely that
Yeats was using the imagery from a source where the specific
term "Green Dragon" is used (eg. Urbigerus or the heraldic
emblems), or whether he is thinking of an image such as the
Dragon in Basil Valentine's Third Key, the final plate of the Maier
edition of the Twelve Keys in the Golden Tripod or the stage of
Saturn in Splendor Solis, which he has then described as Green.
At the moment the heraldic emblems seem to me the most plausible
source for these three particular beasts on their own, but such
emblems seem unlikely to have been the ones to hand for him,
given the sources which Rafal Prinke mentions.

Again, many thanks for your comments.

Yours ever,
Neil Mann


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Neil,

> As far as I can tell Yeats's only practical involvement with alchemy
> was an abortive attempt at vegetable palingenesis.

I believe you are aware of the 1996 book by William Gorski
entitled _Yeats and Alchemy_ (State University of New York
Press).

I have not seen it - there is a publishers' description at:

http://www.sunypress.edu/sunyp/backads/html/gorski.html

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
From: Peter Kelly
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001

You might be interested in what Fulcanelli
says about the Dragon, near the end of his book
"The dwellings of the Philosophers"

" ... while the dragon represents the scaly and volatile
mercury, the product of the superficial purification of
the subject, the Snake, deprived of its wings, remains
the hieroglyph for the common, pure and cleansed mercury."

The Dragon seems to be a more volatile version of
the snake (i.e. a wingless Dragon)

Regards,
Peter Kelly.


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Neil,

Did Yeats really write of "Raymond Lully and his wife Pernella"
which would indeed have been a slip? As far as I can see
from my copy of 'Rosa Alchemica', Yeats writes that the
narrator bought Lully's 'set of alchemical apparatus' in Paris,
and refers correctly to 'Flamel, who with his wife Pernella
achieved the elixir'.

Where Yeats's mention of Morienus's ascetisism ('hair-cloth'),
Avicenna's drunkeness, and Alfarabi's entrancing lute-playing
are concerned, his details are confirmed in Langlet du
Fresnoy's 'Histoire dela Philosophie Hermetique' (Paris, 1742)
101, 82-4. Here again Yeats is accurate. There is no reference
in du Fresnoy's work under Lully of his transformation into a
red cock.

Jung in 'Alchemical Studies', 258, writes that "the little green
dragon ... corresponds to the familiar spirit of the alchemists,
the mercurial serpent or 'draco viridis' but provides no source.

Best wishes,

Michael


Subject: ACADEMY : Bibliotheca chimica
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

In Prof. Dana F. Sutton's _Bibliography of On-line Neo-Latin
Texts_ at:

http://e3.uci.edu/~papyri/bibliography/b.html

there is Pierre Borel's bibliography _Bibliotheca chimica,
seu catalogus librorum philosophicorum hermeticorum_ listed as
available in PDF from the gallica.bn.fr site. The link, however,
says it is no longer there - and neither can it be found through
searching gallica in the usual way.

Did anyone perhaps download it when it was available?

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
From: N J Mann
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001

Dear Michael, Peter and Rafal,

Thank you for the Jung reference, which ties in with the Fulcanelli, and
also corresponds to Pernetty's reading of the winged and unwinged dragons.
Does this correspond to Urbigerus' undetermined and determined forms of the
Green Dragon?

When Yeats published 'The Green Helmet and Other Poems' in 1910 he grouped
the first 8 poems together under the heading 'Raymond Lully and his wife
Pernella', but corrected it in an erratum slip after being alerted to the
mistake by Maud Gonne, who referred to "two streets in Paris called one
Nicholas Flamel & the other Pernelle" (*The Gonne-Yeats Letters 1893-1938*,
294). He seems to have conceived of his relationship with Maud at this
stage in terms of the chaste collaboration of Flamel and Pernella. He was
probably more fully immersed in alchemical lore in the 1890s, however, and
you are right to remind me that he was probably closer to his sources then,
so less likely to have confused separate elements.

Unfortunately Gorski's book, *Yeats and Alchemy* (SUNY, 1996), is not
terribly good, since he seriously underestimates Yeats's knowledge of
primary alchemical sources and refers mainly to secondary texts, such as
Hartmann's *Paracelsus* and A. E. Waite's recension of Barrett, *Lives of
the Alchemystical Philosophers* (and he seems to confuse Hartmann's book on
Boehme with that on Paracelsus). Gorski is stronger on the poetic material,
but the argument is weakened by misunderstanding of, for instance, the role
of corruption/putrefaction in alchemical practice. With regard to the
comparison with *Splendor Solis* he merely footnotes William O'Donnell
(*Guide to the Prose Fiction* [1983] with the wrong page) who in turn
attributes Yeats's knowledge to hearsay from MacGregor Mathers rather than
direct knowledge, which it is clear he had. Similarly, regarding the Green
Dragon (and the other figures here), he quotes a footnote from Steven
Putzel's *Reconstructing Yeats* (1986) which calls the Pelican "the vessel
containing the spiritual distillation" and says that "The 'green dragon' is
the Draco virdis [sic] or mercurial serpent, one of the alchemist's familiar
spirits" (no doubt drawn from the Jung which Michael refers to, but with
implications of witchcraft); this is then passed over without any further
comment (Gorski, 94-95). In terms of alchemy, it is therefore very
disappointing and quite possibly misleading.

Best regards,

Neil



Subject: ACADEMY : Bibliotheca chimica
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001

Dear Rafal,

To be precise the gallica link states that the work is not
available for "technical or juridical reasons".

However, it must be stated that LENGLET DUFRESNOY in
vol 3 of his Histoire de la Philosophie Hermetique cautions
that Borel's work (for which he gives two editions: Paris 1654
and Heidelberg 1656) is most imperfect as it is very inaccurate
listing more than four thousand works by inexistent authors
whose names are gleaned haphazardly.

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY : Bibliotheca chimica
From: Susanna Åkerman
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001

Dear Stanislas and Rafal,

Is Borel an entirely false source or are there some reliable parts?
Is Borel's Bibliotheca the source I mention below?

The seventeenth century alchemist Jean Vauquelin (1651-1716)
mentions that he in Paris 1681 met a certain Des Noyers who had
in his hand a silvercoin with gold in the middle that he got from
Queen Christina (+ 1689). She had according to Des Noyers a
dozen such coins tinged by no one else than Sendivogius himself.
Des Noyers seems to be Pierre des Noyers (d. 1693), secretary
to the Polish queen Marie-Louise Gonzaga. As Rafal has told me
this summer Pierre Borel reproduces a letter where Pierre Des
Noyers sketches a biography of Sendivogius dated 1651 in
Warsaw, where he makes his controversial claim that Sendivogius
got his projection powder from an "Englishman" called Cosmopolita,
later identified as Alexander Seton.

Christina was ten years old at the now established year of death
for Sendivogius, 1636. Pierre des Noyers says in his 1651 letter
that Sendivogius was alive in 1646 and his story that was
considered correct, when e.g. Borrichius heard of it in Paris 1663,
is nowadays also in other circumstances considered false. But
does not the circumstances indicate that there might have been
some truth in it? Christina may have met Des Noyers in Paris
1656 or in Hamburg 1667 when she was candidating for the Polish
throne. Or is Des Noyers' story in Borel entirely a Lûgende to use
a phrase of Joachim Telle.

Vauquelin's text is printed in Francois Secret, "Astrologi et
alchemie au XVIIe siècle." Studi Francesi (60) 1976, ss. 463-479,
especially pp.. 470-471. Vauquelins text is now on the net where
Des Noyers is described as a rosicrucian, see

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

Susanna Akerman


Subject: ACADEMY : Bibliotheca chimica
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Stanislas,

> To be precise the gallica link states that the work is not
> available for "technical or juridical reasons".

That's right. I was getting this and other messages
with other books, too - and then suddenly they downloaded OK.
I had this with Borel's "Antiquities" (which has the famous
letter by Des Noyers on Sendivogius) - and then yesterday
I downloded it without problems (after trying for 3 months!).

> However, it must be stated that LENGLET DUFRESNOY in
> vol 3 of his Histoire de la Philosophie Hermetique cautions
> that Borel's work (for which he gives two editions: Paris 1654
> and Heidelberg 1656) is most imperfect as it is very inaccurate
> listing more than four thousand works by inexistent authors
> whose names are gleaned haphazardly.

The same is observed by Morhof, who says that Borel must
have written it "in sleep". Still - it would be interesting
to see it if anyone has that PDF file.

Best regards,

Rafal


Subject: ACADEMY : Green Dragon
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Neil,

Re "the mystery of the Pelican" in 'Rosa Alchemica', I have a few
pages on Lear's phrase "Those pelican daughters" in my recently
published 'The Probe of Doubt: Scepticism and Illusion in
Shakespeare's Plays' (Uppsala, 2000), pp. 228-231). These
might be of interest since Lear is mentioned in 'Rosa Alchemica'.
If you are interested, let me have your address and I can make
copies of the relevant pages and send them.

With Best Wishes,

Michael