Alchemy Academy archive
October 2001

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Subject: ACADEMY : Hegel's triadic triangles
From: Susanna Ċkerman
Date: 29 Sep 2001

Dear Academy,

Since we are discussing triangles I want to draw attention to the
philosopher Hegel who at one point in the _Philosophy of Right_
(1821) said "Reason is the rose in the cross of the present"
influenced by the Gold und Rosencreutz Orden in his Berlin
period. This has been interestingly debated in _Hegel and the
Hermetic Tradition_ Cornell University Press 2001_ by Glenn
Alexander Magee of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
He interestingly shows Boehmes' influence on the young
philosopher Hegel and reproduces the below Triangle in
Triangles, described earlier by Helmut Schneider "Zur
Dreiecks symbolik bei Hegel" Hegel studien 8 1973 p. 55-77.
The diagram cannot be dated but was found among Hegels papers.

There is a textual fragment that could have been the reason
for Hegel's drawing showing the trinity in connection with the
dialectic of Subjective, Objective and Absolute concepts.
This is discussed in at Magee's text p. 110-113. He refers to
Schneider who argues it is Neo-Paracelsian, neo-Agrippean
and neo-Boehmian. Both authors are however lost in
decoding the drawing and its sigels. Can we do better on the list?

The S in spiritus is drawn in pencil, perhaps reflecting a red
letter in some original. It is uncertain whether Hegel himself
drew it to shed light on his dialectic or whether he is copying
something. Magee's book is from a philosophical point of view
excellent in making grey and tiresome concepts glow.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Hegel's triadic triangles
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001
From: Tatiana Dolinina

Just one note!

In Hegel's phenomenology (triadic dialectics) the
basic triangle unfolds (by every element of the triad
viewed as expressed trhough all the 3 of them: through
itself, through the "2nd" and through the "3d"). As a
"static" emblem it gives one of the loved by
alchemists figures: the triangle which on every angle
has a sphere with the "basic" triangle inside.

If you unfold it by spiral (moving by numbers, one
after one), you get a complete cabbalistic tree (or
alchemic tree if you prefer to call it so): 3x3=9, the
10th making the "Plan of Expression" ("plan of
expression" is a standard linguistic term as opposed
to "plan of essence" :) and I use it all in my
semiotic conception). This is obvious and distinct
cabbalistic dialectics, the Diagram of Creation, Hegel
just simply used a language to be consumable (and
consumed) by the peoples community of his time. Good
trick and works perfectly.

Now, Hegel's dialectics makes one of the corner stones
of the fundument of the western "scientific" (i.e.
"accepted") philosophy. Don't you all think he had
very substantial reasons to get these ideas penetrate
so widely to the society!?

Tatiana Dolinina

Subject: ACADEMY : Hegel's triadic triangles
Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001
From: Ronald S. Erlien

Dear Tatiana Dolinina,

>If you unfold it by spiral (moving by numbers, one
>after one), you get a complete cabbalistic tree.

Could you please show me how this is formed?
I am having a difficult time picturing this.


Subject: ACADEMY : English women alchemists
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Friends,

While leafing through Gabriel Claudius', 'Dissertation von der
Universal-Tinktur'(1682) looking for something else, I came across an
interesting reference to a woman alchemist operating in England during, it
seems, the first half of the 17th century. I know that one of our
colleagues is working on this subject, and thought the reference might be
worth mentioning in case it has been missed. Unfortunately I have not been
able to find the letter that she wrote to the Academy on this topic.

Claudius writes (219):
"Im ubrigen was Petrus Borellius in seiner Chymischen Bibliothec / die Anno
1654. zu Paris / unde anno 1656. zu Heidelberg getruket worden / schreibet
das Maria Rante die Engelandern vorher verfundighet habe / der
Philosophische Stein werde Anno 1661 bey jeden bekannt werden /lass ich dem
Urtheil der Klugen heim

'Alumn. Cantabrig.' part I, III, 421 mentions a possible husband: a certain
William Rant, who entered Caius College in 1581, BA 1584-5, MA 1588, MD
1597. "Practised medicine at Northwich. Married Mary, d. of Edward Ward of
Bixley. Bur. May 30, 1627".

I do not have access to a copy of Pierre Borel's 'Biblitheca Chimica', but
I imagine he provides more information. He was appointed royal physician to
Louis XIV in 1654.

Hoping this might be of help,

Michael Srigley

Subject: ACADEMY : English women alchemists
From: Cis van Heertum
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001

I checked Maria Rante in Borel's Bibliotheca chimica (Heidelberg
1656, facs ed.); under Maria Rante we find a reference to Clavis
Apocalyptica, p. 24: 'Mariae Rante Angl. quae auri facturam brevi
vulgarem futuram fore, ut pote anno 1661 promittit.'

So Borel doesn't really provide more information!

Cis van Heertum

Subject: ACADEMY : English women alchemists - William Rant
From: Caroline Moss-Gibbons
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001

Dear All,

In response to Michael Srigley's email about female alchemists mentioning
William Rant: the brief biographical details he provided vary from those
found in 'Munk's Roll' or 'Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of
Physicians of London'. 'Our' William Rant may be a descendant of Michael
Srigley's William of course. Munk's (vol 1) entry reads:

William Rant, MD, was the son of Humphrey Rant, of Norwich, notary public,
by his wife Katherine, and was born in that city in 1604. He was educated
at Caius college Cambridge, and as a member of that house, proceeded MB
1625, MD 1630. He was admitted a Candidate of the college of Physicians
30th September, 1633, and a Fellow 30th September, 1634. He delivered in
October 1639, the first course of Gulstonian lectures, "de morbis partium
quibus optime doctissimeque se gessit [Annales, x, Oct 1639]. I meet with
him as Censor in 1640, 1645, 1647, 1650. He retired into the country
shortly before his death, which took place from marasmus on the 15th
September, 1653. Dr Rant bequeathed to the College six Arabic books, which
were delivered by his brother in February, 1655-6. He was buried at Thorp
Market, co. Norfolk, where on a large marble tomb is the following

'This stone covers the dust of
WILLIAM RANT, Doctor of Physick,
and Fellow of the College of Physicians of London,
who, after that he had there exercised his art
with much honour and success for full twenty years,
upon the 15th day of September, 1653,
and in the forty-ninth year of his age,
finished the race of his life at Norwich,
where he first took breath to run it.

Under this stone also do lye the ashes of his dear wife, JANE, third
daughter of SIR JOHN DINGLEY, knt. of Wolverton, in Hampshire.
She ended her life on 11th June, 1656. They left issue WILLIAM and JANE.

Best regards,
Caroline Moss-Gibbons

Subject: ACADEMY : English women alchemists - William Rant
From: Michael Srigley
Date: 11 Oct 2001

My thanks to Cis van Heertum and Caroline Moss-Gibbons for their prompt
information about Maria Rant. Where William Rant, M.D (1604-1653) is
concerned, the same basic information about him is provided in 'Alumni
Cantabrigienses'. He is followed in the same work by the earlier William
Rant who married Mary Ward and died in 1627. If this Mary is the same as
Maria Rant the alchemist, she must have lived on after her husband's death
for a decade or two. Alternatively there may have been a Mary Rant who was
the daughter of the first William Rant and Mary.

With best wishes,

Michael Srigley

Subject: ACADEMY : Illuminated alchemical manuscripts
From: M.E. Warlick
Date: 16 October 2001

Dear colleagues:

I have the opportunity to travel to Italy and Denmark in late
November, early December and would like to correspond
with any of you who may have experience looking at illustrated
alchemical manuscripts in Bologna, Florence and Copenhagen.
Any contact information at the appropriate libraries in those cities
would be helpful. You can contact me off the list at


M.E. Warlick,
Assoc. Prof. Art History, University of Denver

Subject: ACADEMY : Hegel's triadic triangles:
From: Adam McLean
Date: 15 October 2001

Dear Susanna,

Are there any more such diagrams in the papers of
Hegel ? I cannot quite get the context from the example
you have shown us. Perhaps if there are other drawings
we can begin to see more of what Hegel was trying to
express through these diagrams.

How much was Hegel influenced by the diagrams in the
works of Jacob Boehme ? The Boehmist diagrams, do
not, in general, involve the use of alchemical sigils, but
obviously use the emblem of the triangle in many cases.
Indeed, most of the engravings in the Gichtel edition of
his works do incorporate a triangle, either upward or
downward pointing.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Hegel's triadic triangles
From: Susanna Ċkerman
Date: 17 Oct 2001

There is a written "triangle fragment" in Hegel's papers first described
by Karl Rosencrantz in 1844 and translated in H. S. Harris' Hegel's
development: Night thoughts (part 2, 1983 Oxford UP, first part is
called Towards the Sunlight 1972). However it speaks of two
triangles and is not directed towards this triadic triangle. Also
Karin Figala writes about the "Die alchemische Begriff von Capuut
mortuum bei Hegel in der symbolischen Terminologie Hegels" in
Stuttgarter Hegel-Tage 1970 edited by H. G. Gadamer Bonn 1974.

To explain the point of triangles I can only say that Hegel thinks
of the trinity and its manifestations first as love and then on a deeper
level as the Spirit-coming-to-consciousness-of-itself. I recommend
you Magee's book since I am unable to summarize Hegel's thinking.
Schneider means the drawing is neo-Pythagorean but Magee
roots it in Hermeticism. Herder, Hegel and Novalis all studied in
Tübingen, earlier home of Johann Valentin Andreae, and they are
influenced in various ways by mystics such and Franz von Baader,
Oetinger and the pietists.

There is a long Boehme/Hegel chapter in Magee, and he
comments on Hegel's dialectic of the Spirit that was formed early
on in his mystical-theosophical youth, and stays on till his old days
as in The Philosophy of Right.

Note that the triangles are downward showing I guess the descent
of spirit in matter and consciousness developing in history. Celestial
stellar influx in mineral matter? The sixpointed star of joined triangles
is often seen as philosophical fiery water (aesch majim) conjoined
in perfect union, here it is the descent that is important, perhaps as
spiritual influx and flow in thinking.

Magee's book tempts me to look into Hegel's own works that
nowadays have good translations, while they were forbidding to
read in English fifteen years ago when I took a glance on his
philosophy. To read it in German is not easy either I guess, but
perhaps it is fun (sic) to look into Hegel's mysticism. It gives me
motivation I have lacked hitherto.

Also note that Leibniz writes a text on alchemy as Oidipus Chymicus
in Acta Berolinensis 1710 in Berlin actually the same title as
J.J. Becher in 1664.

Can someone look it up and tell us what it says? Leibniz was a
member and secretary of a alchemical society in 1667. And he
also solved the ciphers in Chymische Hochzeit, but later thought
that the Rosicrucians were fiction.

Susanna Akerman

Subject: ACADEMY : New book on history of alchemy
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Has anyone seen this new history of alchemy yet?

Hans-Werner Schütt, Auf der Suche nach dem Stein
der Weisen. Die Geschichte der Alchemie.
München 2000. 602 S. mit 28 Abb., Bibliographie, Indices, Ln.
Verlag C.H.Beck
ISBN 3-406-46638-9

I would be interested to know if it is worthwhile, ie. does
it contain original research/material/observations or is it
just a rehash of earlier general histories?

I have seen a short review on the Web but it just said
that the author deals with both psychological (Jungian)
and chemical approaches. He is chemist himself and
a professor of the history of science.

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY : New book on history of alchemy
From: Susanna Ċkerman
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001

Dear Rafal,

After an exiting visit to Vienna to speak of Queen Christina and
to incite Austrian alchemical historians, such as as Rudolf Werner
Soukup, who is writing a history of Austrian alchemy as it
appears in the annals of the sixteenth century Bergwerk, to look
for evidence of the Italian alchemist Santinelli's visit in 1667, I was
led to the Student buchhandlung. There I found Claus Prisener's
and Karin Figala's lexicon of Alchemy. 1998. To read it is
stimulating since its precise knowledge illumines many questions
of alchemical practise. However Hans Werner Schütt's book
(also at the publishing house C.H. Beck) is not so precise, but
is full with pleasant ancedotes of chemical interpretations of
old alchemical texts and a lot of Chemical interpretations
(with chemical formulae) of the old allegories. It is a "rehash",
but a pleasent one. Very little on Sendivogius.

I would buy Prisener's and Figala's book and perhaps try to
get Schütt's book on interlibrary loan.


ps. Santinelli was guardian of the golden key at Emperor Leopold's
court in 1667 (these golden keys is an honour on display in the
Viennese Imperial Schatzkammer) and I have now set Viennese
historians to track him down, author as he is of Lux Obnubilata
or Lumière sortant de soi même des tenebres of 1667.

Subject: ACADEMY : New book on history of alchemy
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001
From: Rafal T. Prinke

Dear Susanna,

> However Hans Werner Schütt's book
> (also at the publishing house C.H. Beck) is not so precise, but
> is full with pleasant ancedotes of chemical interpretations of
> old alchemical texts and a lot of Chemical interpretations
> (with chemical formulae) of the old allegories. It is a "rehash",
> but a pleasent one. Very little on Sendivogius.

Thank you for your description of this book.

> I would buy Prisener's and Figala's book and perhaps try to
> get Schütt's book on interlibrary loan.

I bought the Prisener-Figala _Lexikon_ two years ago
and it is, indeed, a very valuable reference, with up-to-date
bibliography for every entry. Some entries that one would
expect are not there - but that's always the case with
books of this kind.

Best regards,