Alchemy Academy archive
October 1999

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Subject: ACADEMY : Finis Gloriae Mundi - Juan de Valdes Leal
Date: 1 Oct 1999
From: Adam McLean

Regarding the painting used in the publicity for the
Finis Gloriae mundi, this seems to be by the 17th century
Spanish artist Juan de Valdes Leal.

Does anyone have any further information on this artist,
and how his work seems relevant to alchemy? I tried
to find some information about him on the Web but
there seems to be little available. I will look him up in
the University Library next week, but would welcome
any information in the meantime.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Finis Gloriae Mundi - Juan de Valdes Leal
From: Marcella Gillick
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999

Dear Adam,

I'm sure you've found the following biblio yourself on the Net, but I think
the synopsis I've appended of his Allegory of Death, hints at the artist's
You can view this disturbing image at:-

Thanks a million Hans for the description you gave - it raises even more
puzzles. (I wonder is the goat behind, not in, the scales; and I'd really
like to know more about the difference between the two hearts). I thought
initially that this picture was specifically painted for alchemical
purposes, but I suppose not.

Best wishes



Valdés was born in Seville in 1622, where he probably received his artistic
training, although there are no records of his early life. He is first
recorded in Córdoba in 1647, the year he signed and dated a painting of
Saint Andrew, which shows affinities with the style of the Sevilian master,
Francisco de Herrera the Elder. Valdés remained in Córdoba until 1656, by
which time he had developed his mature style.
From 1656 until his death, Valdés lived in Seville, where he established a
reputation second only to Murillo. In 1660, the two painters participated in
the founding of a drawing academy, of which Valdés was president from 1663
to 1666. They also collaborated in the decoration of the church of the
Brotherhood of Charity. After about 1682, the artist was beset by ill health
and increasingly relied on his son, Lucas, to direct the work of his shop.
He died in Seville in 1690. [This is an edited version of the artist's
biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

Allegory of Death
Of all the great painters of the school of Seville - alongside Zurbarán,
Velázquez and Murillo - the distinctive style of Valdés Leal is the most
difficult to place. Only two major allegories on the transience of life and
on death which he himself is said to have described as "hieroglyphs of our
afterlife" have remained truly popular. His patron, Don Miguel de Mañara,
was a Knight of the Order of Calatrava who became a benefactor of the
brotherhood of the hospital and its church in penitence for his previous
life of decadence. The epitaph on his grave succinctly describes the spirit
that commissioned such a powerful vanitas still life: "Here lie the bones
and ashes of the worst person who ever lived on earth". His last will and
testament contains the most humble self accusation not only as a great
sinner, but also as an adulterer, robber and servant of the devil.
The Allegory of Death presents the triumph of the grim reaper, who sweeps
into the picture as an imposing figure. One skeletal foot stands on the
globe, while the other stands on armaments, the trappings of office and
insignia of power. Under his arm, he carries a coffin and in his hand a
scythe. As his right hand snuffs out the life-light represented by the
candle, he stares at the spectator from the very depths of his empty

Subject: ACADEMY : Finis Gloriae Mundi - Juan de Valdes Leal
From: Adam McLean
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999

I was labouring under the impression that the picture of
Juan de Valdes Leal was somehow relevant to Fulcanelli and
alchemy. Somehow I thought I had seen this painting before in
one of Canseliet's books but I just checked this and it does
not appear to be so. I would not want to waste people's time by
chasing a connection between Juan de Valdes Leal and alchemy
which may only exist in the designer of the Liber Mirabilis web
page !

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Finis Gloriae Mundi - Juan de Valdes Leal
From: Hans Hammerschlag
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999

Juan de Valdés Leal
[Spanish Baroque Era Painter, 1622-1690]

Valdes Leal was quite a famous Baroque painter, known for his
vivacious brushwork and magnificent use of a superb array of
colors, for which he has been associated with being kind of an
antecesor of the decorative tones of the rococo style.

He was also involved with the Sevilla Cathedral, and specifically
so designed in 1664 the marble slab with inscriptions and the
coat of arms of the Sepulveda family there.

With regards to the painters association to alchemy, will try to
look for concrete references.

Some additional references about his work as follows :

Beruete y Moret, Aureliano. Valdés Leal: Estudio critico. Madrid, 1911.
Gestoso y Pérez, José. Biografía del pintor sevillano, Juan de Valdés Leal. Seville, 1916: 208.
Lafond, Paul. Juan de Valdés Leal. Paris, 1923: 92-93.
Nieto, Benedicto. La Asunción de la Virgen en el arte. Madrid, 1950: 158.
Trapier, Elizabeth Du Gué. Valdés Leal: Spanish Baroque Painter. New York, 1960: 48.
Angulo Iñiguez, Diego. Pintura del siglo XVII. Ars Hispaniae 15. Madrid, 1971: 383.
Kinkead, Duncan T. Juan de Valdés Leal (1622-1690): His Life and Work. London and New York, 1978: 185-186, 420-422, no. 101, fig. 89.
Valdivieso, Enrique. Juan de Valdés Leal. Seville, 1988: 145, 252, no. 122, pl. 113.
Valdes Leal. Exh. cat. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, 1991: no. 60, 198, repro. 199.

One of his famous paintings is "La Asuncion de la Virgen"

Subject: ACADEMY : Some small queries (1)
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999
From: Catherine Fox-Anderson

Dear Eve,

J. Garcia Font, en su Historia de la alquimia en
Espana, (1995, Edicion MRA, ISBN 84-88865-04-X), says
that Arnaldo de Vilanova was born of humble origens
sometime between 1235-1250. He was Valencian, which
has a unique dialect, I believe related to Catalan. I
assume this is the Castillian spelling of his name.
Perhaps Jose Rodriguez could clarify; I have seen his
first name spelled "Arnau de Vilanova", which I think
is closer to the catalan. Jose? I'd be curious for
confirmation, as well. Thank you and good luck.


Subject: ACADEMY : Labiche, Theatre
From: Diane Zervas Hirst
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999

I am writing to udate the Academy re my request about Labiche
and a possible Theatre alchimie. Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
sent me some useful information, and I am able to confirm that, as
he suspected, E. Labiche did not write/edit an alchemical text, the
fifth volume of which was seen by Matisse and Rouault in the house
of Gustave Moreau. This false assumption appears twice in
articles/books on Moreau to my knowledge: in P.-L. Mathieu,
'La bibliotheque de Gustave Moreau' in Gazette des Beaux-Arts,
april 1978, pp. 155-162, and in 'Gustave Moreau, Maitre imagier
de l'orphisme par Victor Segalen', Fontfroide, Bibliotheque artistique et
litteraire, 1990. What they were all looking at was, indeed, vol. V of
Labiche's 10-volume Theatre (complete theatrical works), 1888.

Also, those who search the British Library catalogue on-line are
well-advised to consult the printed catalogue as well, as I have
found many books not included on the on-line version.

Thank you for your help,
Diane Zervas (Hirst)

Subject: ACADEMY : De essentiis essentiarum
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999
From: Sophie Page

I wonder if anyone could help me with information or bibliography
concerning the (c.thirteenth century) alchemical work, the 'De essentiis
essentiarum', at times attributed to Thomas Aquinas, but in the incipit
addressed to Robert of Anjou by a 'Thomas capellanus'. This is a
work in nine tractates dealing with various different kinds of essences
(of God, animals, minerals etc) - I am particularly interested in the
essences of spirits.

The De essentiis essentiarum relates to another interest of my
research - the relationhip between alchemy and magic - their
merging in texts (ratherthan their practice by the same people which
is very common and I think the reasons for this are usually obvious).
In the De essentiis for example, there is a reference to marvellous
images which can turn other metals to gold (i.e. magic in the service
of alchemy) and other magical uses. In another Medieval text I am
studying, the Liber vacce, alchemy (the creation of a kind of golem)
is used in the service of magic.

A topic which appears in both genres is the revelation of
(alchemical or magical) secrets by a spirit. It seems to me that there
may be a comparable thread in the chemical/spiritual division?
of alchemy and the (Medieval) distinction between natural magic
(often using metals and minerals) and spiritual/demonic magic
(some kinds of which involve mystical visions) in magic. But I am
aware that this last thought is rather vague and probably fairly
untenable. Does anyone have any comments on this?

I am only aware of Thorndike's brief comments on the De essentiis
in vol.3 of the History of Magic and Experimental Science. Thorndike
lists several mss. containing copies of this text, none of which are
in British libraries. I know of one Cambridge ms. (c.1400) containing
a copy of it (CUL Add. 4087) but would be interested in hearing of others.

Sophie Page

Subject: ACADEMY : Arnau de Vilanova?
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999:

Catherine said:
>J. Garcia Font, en su Historia de la alquimia en
>Espana, (1995, Edicion MRA, ISBN 84-88865-04-X), says
>that Arnaldo de Vilanova was born of humble origens
>sometime between 1235-1250. He was Valencian, which
>has a unique dialect, I believe related to Catalan. I
>assume this is the Castillian spelling of his name.
>Perhaps Jose Rodriguez could clarify; I have seen his
>first name spelled "Arnau de Vilanova", which I think
>is closer to the catalan. Jose? I'd be curious for
>confirmation, as well.

I am totally in accord with your commentary. For example there
is a manuscript in Rome (Convento de los Carmelitas Descalzos,
Via Sforza Pallavicini, ms A.O.III.556.A) with spiritual works of
Arnau and here he explains that he is "catalan". The word
"Catalan" had been designated the people from Catalonia and
Valencia in the 13th and 14th centuries. The historical dates confirm
that he was born in the Valencian Diocese, and his testament is in
the Spanish city of Valencia too. His real name in Catalan or
Valencian is "Arnau de Vilanova" as you explain.

The Castillian translation is "Arnaldo de Villanueva" and in the
oldest manuscripts in latin we can read "magister Arnaldus de
Vilanova, physicus".

At the present there are many academic scholars researching into
the works attributed to him (ej. Jose Antonio Paniagua, Michael R.
McVaugth, Luis García Ballester, Fernando Salmón, Eustaquio
Sánchez and Joseph Ziegler into the medical and pharmacological
corpus; Michela Pereira, Chiara Crisciani, Antoine Calvet and
Giuliana Camilli into the alchemical corpus; Josep Perernau,
Jaume de Puig, Gian Luca Potestà, Francesco Santi, Miquel
Batllori into the spiritual or teological corpus).

Like I said the last month there is a serious disagreement about
the authenticity of all the alchemical corpus attributed to him if we
read the last books and articles on Arnau de Vilanova. Nobody
can guarantee by historical research the authenticity of any one
of the alchemical works attributed to him.

Joseph Ziegler said that Arnau is a "theologizing physician", never
an alchemist. Mr Ziegler said that in their scientific form Arnau's
medical writings have important religious implications:

1- Medical language, which he partly shared with the clegy and
which thus enable him to perceive his art as a quasi-religious system.
2- His conviction that medicine and medical knowledge could deliver
a spiritual message giving its practicioners access to secret spheres
of knowledge.
3- His emphasis on the virtue of Christian love (latin. Caritas) as
characteristic of the perfect physician.
4- His definition of medicine that allowed him to treat the soul and
its passions.

Much more significant was the impact of his medical background on
the way in which he expressed his spiritual ideas and to a lesser
extent on their content. In his spiritual works there is a high-level
characterized by dense medical imagery (i.e. anatomy and
pathology). He uses the physical body as a starting point for discussing
the spiritual body. Arnau maintened that divine revelation was a
possible (though not very common) source of medical knowledge,
and regarded the physician as a specially chosen divine agent who
was a vessel of medical truth. As a theologizin physician he saw
himself following in the footsteps of Christ and Luke, Cosmas and
Damian, all of whom provided both spiritual and physical health
Moreover there are many problems trying to find relationships
between the alchemical tracts and the medical or spiritual writings.
The Frenchman Antoine Calvet and the Spaniard Joan Viñals Heras
have made commentaries about this subjet but the conclusions
are no longer unequivocal.

Hope this is of some help.

Best wishes,
Jose Rodríguez

Subject: ACADEMY : Finis Gloriae Mundi and Juan de Valdés Leal
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999

I have notices about the real Finis Gloriae Mundi that supposedly
Fulcanelli gave to Eugène Canseliet.

The chapters "The cyclical cross of Hendaya" and "The unlimited
progress of the sciences" does not appear in the original editions
(1926 and 1930) of the Fulcanelli's books. Those are two fragments
of the "Finis Gloriae Mundi" that Canseliet includes in the second
edition of the books. See: Geneviève Dubois. "Fulcanelli dévoilé";
Eugène Canseliet. "Deux Logis Alchimiques" 2nd edition of 1979,
not in the 1st of 1945.

Moreover Jean Laplace found some papers and photos in relation
to the book "Finis Gloriae Mundi" in the personal study of Canseliet.
You can find the reference in the alchemical journal "La tourbe des
Philosophes", nº 31, 1988, p14. There were some plain texts
supposedly by Fulcanelli:

- Le Labarum Constatinum.
- L'Art et la médicine au museé de Colmar.
- Base de la Multiplication.
- Confrérie des Antonites.

There was an index with the chapters of the real "Finis Gloriae Mundi":


La décadence de notre civilisation et la déchéance des
sociétés humaines

-Incrédulité religieuse et crédulité mystique.
-Effets néfastes de l'enseignement officiel.
-Abus des plaisirs par la crainte de l'avenir.
-Fétichisme à notre époque.
-Symboles plus puissants qu'autrefois dans la conception matérialiste.
-Incertitude du lendermain.
-Méfiance et défiance généralisées.
-La mode et ses caprices révelateurs.
-Les initiés inconnus gouvernent seuls.
-Le mystère pèse sur les consciences.

Témoignages terrestres de la fin du monde

-Les quatre ages.
-Les cycles successifs scellés dans les couches géologiques.
-Flore et faune disparues.
-Squelettes humains.
-Monuments de l'humanité dite préhistorique.
-Chandelier des trois croix.

Les causes cosmiques du bouleversement

-Le système de Ptolémée.
-Erreur du système de Copernic démotrée par l'etoile polaire.
-Précession des équinoxes.
-Inclinaison de l'écliptique.
-Variations inexplicables du pôle magnétique.
-Ascension solaire au zénith du pôle et retour en sens
contrire provoquant le renversement de l'axe, le déluge et la
fusion à la surface du glove.

And there were the photos of two pictures of Juan Valdés Leal
on the allegory of death: "Finis Gloriae Mundi" and "In Octu Oculi".
Here I send you the image of the second picture.

Subject: ACADEMY : Letter of Pope John XXII.
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999

Hermann Oeisner ("Dante in Frankreich". Berlin, Abering, 1898)
mentions a fragment of a letter about the teaching of alchemy
in the University of Paris that Pope John XXII sent to the king of
France Philippe V. Does anyone knows the date of this letter?


Jose Rodríguez

Subject: ACADEMY : Roger Caro's books
From: Adam McLean
Date: 5 Oct 1999

The works of the modern French alchemist Roger Caro have now
been made available again. There is a new web site set up to
distribute these titles.

The titles available are:

Siphra di Tzeniutha
Dictionnaire de Philosophie Alchimique
Concordances Alchimiques
Rituel F.A.R.+C.
Bible, Science & Alchimie
Commentaires G.O. Photographié
Pleiade Alchimique

These are available at quite modest prices and certainly
much less than second hand copies of the first editions,
which are very rare and expensive.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : De essentiis essentiarum
From: TCR
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999

Dear Ms. Page,

Although I think this may be a bit oblique to what you are looking
for re: revelation by a spirit I was reminded of the instances in
Alchemical accounts where a stranger appears at the door
with a revelatory message about how to achieve the Alchemical
goal. An example of this is discussed on pg 50-51 in
Coudert in relation to Helvetius' account.


Subject: ACADEMY : Philalethes and Child
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Friends, My greetings to you from a newcomer, and a request for
comments on the following suggestion that a piece of writing by G. W.
Wedelius includes in cipher the private name of the adept, Eiraeneus
Philalethes. Does any one have access to Wedelius's ed. of 1699
and could check it to see if 'ICtos' is used in the preface? Any other
examples of such cryptograms in alchemical works?


Michael Srigley

The Identity of Eirenaeus Philalethes

In the edition of the Introitus apertus made by Michael Faustius in1706,
there are three prefaces, the first written by Faustius himself, the second
by George Wolfgang Wedelius, and the third by Johannus Langius,
the editor of the first Latin edition of 1667. The second is oddly dated
'MDC XCVIII DXXI, but if the third group of numerals is ignored, the first
two yield 1698. In the following year Wedelius issued his own edition
of the Introitus, and it is likely that he is reusing its preface for Faustius's
edition. This is not the only oddity in Wedelius's preface. A passage
in it dealing with the real name of the adept Philaletha ends with the
statement that the true name of the adept known as Eiraeneus
Philalethes was "THOMAS DE VAGAN", that is, Thomas Vaughan
the alchemist, the twin brother of the poet, Henry Vaughan. The
long-hidden name of the celebrated Philalethes is thus trumpeted
forth in bold capitals, and even if the 'De' added to his name is
unexpected and seems to indicate that a Frenchman is involved,
we might be inclined to accept the attribution as correct, or at least
possible, were it not for two even odder sentences occurring earlier
in the same passage. They run as follows:

Decet idem Studium Theologos, ICtos, Historicos, Literatos quosvis.
Quilibet inde habebit quod judicet, & moretur, quod delectat & prosit.
Quilibet inde habebit quod judicet, & miretur, quod delectet & prosit.

The first sentence is fairly straightforward except for that one word
'ICtos'. Translated it says: 'The same study is right for theologians,
'blows', historians and any literary men'. The word 'ictus' can mean
'blow', 'a sting', or 'flash of lightening'. The inclusion of a Latin word
meaning 'blows' or 'stings' among the categories of men who might
suitably study theology becomes odder by having its first two letters
set in upper case: 'IC'. The sentence that follows can be rendered:
"Anyone can obtain from this what he might decide, and be amazed
as he pleases or finds to his advantage." This is almost as baffling.
However, since the whole passage deals with the identity of
Irenaeus Philalethes, one possibility is that the reader is being
invited in the second sentence to make sense of the first sentence in
the context of name-hunting, even if in the attempt he might make a
fool of himself.

Taking this risk, I shall see what sense can be squeezed from these
two sentences. In the first sentence the capital letters form the
following sequence: D.S.T.I.C.H.L . As I have for some time been
trying to prove that Philalethes was not in fact George Starchey, as
W. R. Newman has claimed, and that the English alchemist, Dr. Robert
Child (1612-1664) has a far better claim, it was easy to find the name
CHILD among these letters. But this left two of the letters, S and T,
unaccounted for: It proved difficult to find a name made up of these
five consonants and only one vowel. A linguist friend came up with what
may be the solution.The suggestion was that T and S should be
reversed and placed before Child giving the form 'TSCHILD'. This
would then be a phonetic rendering by Wedelius of how Child's
name should be pronounced by German speakers not accustomed
to English spelling. Far-fetched as this may seem, there is some
evidence that foreigners did, as they still do, find it difficult to
pronounce English words from the way they were spelled. One of
these was Michael Maier during the five years he spent in England.
He wrote of this discrepancy between the spelling and pronounciation
of English words in his Symbola aureae mensae, (Frankfurt, 1617),
495: "In this depraved state of literacy, there are many thousands of
words pronounced by other nations that they [the English] cannot
write as they are pronounced". He gives a pertinent example:
"The word Church they pronounce Tziertz ..." (I gratefully cite this
from Joscelyn Godwin, The Deepest of the Rosicrucians: Michael Maier
(1569-1622) in The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited (Lindisfarne
Books, 1999), 111). Maier would thus have spelled 'Child' as
'Tzchild' to indicate to a German how it should be spoken. Wedelius's
'Tschild' is a natural variant of this orthography. John Ferguson
points out in his Bibliotheca Chemica (II. 194) that Irenaeus Philalethes
is named 'Child' or 'Zheil' in Die Edelgeborna Jungfer Alchymia, and
he suggests that 'Zheil' "appears to be but a phonetic corruption"
of Child. If so, it would go back to Wedelius's 'Tschild'.

A further possible indication that Wedelius's preface was thought
to contain a coded name is found in a brief reference to him as the
"Scavant M. Wedelius" in the Abbé du Fresnoy's own preface to
his Latin and French edition of the Introitus in the second volume
of his Histoire de la Philosophie Hermétique (17 ). Referring to
Wedelius's earlier edition of the Introitus of 1699, he writes:

Sa Préface qui est assez curieuse, se borne à rapporter quelques
examples de transmutations métalliques, & à faire une exhortation
très-serieuse, non seulement aux Médecins, mais même aux
Théologiens, aux Jurisconsultes, aux Historiens & aux Litterateurs,
pour les engager à cultiver la science Hermétique (Préface, xiv).

He speaks first of all of the learned Wedelius's preface as "rather
curious", which in some respects it is, and then he goes on to
single out the very sentence examined earlier from which the name
'Tschild' has been extracted. We learn from the Abbé that the word
'ICtos' in it should really be 'Jurisconsultes'. Unfortunately I have
not yet been able to examine the preface to Wedelius's 1699 edition
of the Introitus to see if this contains 'ICtos' or 'Juriconsultos.'

The two sentences discussed above are followed by the following

Nec obstat Autorem Nomen suum dissimulisse, qui ex Anglia
tamen vulgo habetur oriundus, (quae cultissima natio jam aliquot
secula Chimicos Adeptos habuit, & hodiernum possidet sine dubio,)
& THOMAS DE VAGAN appelatus.

From this we learn that the Author had concealed his true name,
and that "he was popularly held to have been born in England, (a
most cultivated country which has had alchemical adepts for several
centuries, and no doubt has one now), and was called THOMAS
DE VAGAN." In context, we learn that vulgo, in popular opinion, he
was said to have been of English origin and, according to the same
popular opinion, was called Thomas de Vagan. If all this is correct,
the reader is being told that the real name of the adept is not
"THOMAS DE VAGAN" but rather his friend in the Hartlib circle, Dr.
Child, previously hidden as Tschild in scrambled capital letters.

Wedelius ends the whole preface with what I take to be a further
indication that his curious text does contain hidden matter:

Vale Lector, & Phileletham instar Omnium habe, & Introitum hunc
Alchimiae Universae Compendium, ubi, pauca Exoterica,
Acroamatica multa offendes.

Wedelius takes farewell of the reader and bids him take Phileletha
as the model (of all alchemists) and his Introitus as a compendium
of universal alchemy, where he will "come across few exoterica but
many acroamatica". The final word 'acroamatica' is Greek for those
matters that were only revealed in secret by masters to disciples.
O.E.D. defines the adjective 'acroamatic' in the following way: 'Of
or pertaining to hearing; privately communicated by oral teaching
to chosen disciples only; esoteric, secret'. In The Advancement of
Learning (1640 ed. 273), Francis Bacon distinguishes between an
"Exotericall or revealed" method of teaching and "an Acroamaticall
or concealed Method", the first being "magistral", the second

The question arises of whether such encipherment of a name would
occur in an alchemical text at the end of the seventeenth century.
This method of revealingly concealing a name was in fact used
by other alchemists. George Starkey, for example, inserts two
anagrams of his true name in his Pyrotechny : 'Egregius Christo' and
'Vir gregis Custos'. (see John Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica II.,
401-5). Closer to Faustius's method is the way the name of
Sendivogius was enciphered by Oswald Croll in his Basilica Chemica
(1609). This has been finely and convincingly unravelled by Rafael
T. Prinke. In the middle of page 94 of Croll's work are the
following words:

Magnum aliquem, cui in aeternum bene sIt, & Cumprimis egregium
HeliocAntharum borEaLem, nunc in Christo quiescentem:
cuiuSmodi IENtis DenIque consueVerunt latirare tempOrum currIcUliS.

As Prinke writes, the capital, non-italicized letters

"spell out the name of the adept so admired by Maier and Crollius:
"MICHAEL SENDIVOIUS." It is the name of the Polish alchemist
Michal Sedziwoj (1566-1636), better known under his Latinized name
Michael Sendivogius. It is interesting that in Croll's cryptogram the
G is missing, which indicates that he Latinized the Czech version of
his name - Michal Sendivoy - by which he knew him in Prague"
(Prinke, 'The Twelfth Adept' in The Rosicrucian Enlightenment
Revisited (Lindisfarne Books, 1999), 148).

The letters 'DEI' higher on the page perhaps anticipate the religious
theme of the cryptogram that follows lower down.

It would seem then that there is some warrant for believing that
Wedelius concealed the private name of the person believed by
him to lie behind the public name, Irenaeus Philalethes in his preface
to the Introitus apertus. in the Faustius's edition of 1706, seemingly
first printed in 1699. Du Fresnoy seems to have detected the cipher
in Wedelius's "curious preface" and draws attention to the very
sentence claimed to contain the cipher in his own preface to the
Introitus. Wedelius's identification of Philalethes as Dr Robert Child,
alchemist, metallurgist and prominent member of the Hartlib circle
as well as the befriender of George Starkey both in New and
OldEngland does not prove that Child was indeed the adept. But if it
is taken in conjunction with earlier claims that the adept was Robert
Child, then there is a good case for reviewing the evidence.

Subject: ACADEMY : 'Semaia' - a German goddess of alchemy ?
From: Klaus Oberhummer
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999

Dear friends, my greetings to you,

I found in the book "Symbolik des Parsismus" written by Jacques
Duchesne-Guillemin, 1961 on page 75, the name of a goddess called
Semaia - which is written in this german book as CHMIA.

I don't know how to interpret this, because the old alchemical theory
states that the planets manifest in the main metals. And the relation
between man and god is similar to the relation between man and
these sidereal-metallic spheres symbolised in the word
"Standarte(german)-Zeichen(symbol)" . Indeed the "BUND(german)"
with metallic spheres is the basis of many old religions.

Heaven is called Samai and is symbolised by what the author calls
"planetarische Scheiben" - which maybe can be interpreted as metals.
Indeed I don't know if this CHMIA is a linguistic artefact, or can be
interpreted to be a root to an old chemical religion and maybe is an
independent root of al-chemy.

This would be another root to the word CHEMIE(german) - chemistry,
which usually is derived either from the greek chyma? (Saft,Kunst?gu?)
or from kemi? (black earth?)

Maybe this word is of greek origin made by those men who constructed
the "BUND" to the goddess CHMIA.

Best regards

Mag.Klaus Oberhummer
Technisches Museum Wien

Subject: ACADEMY : Michael Maier's Music
From: Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999

Dear all,

I tried to find somewhere on WWW a modern transcription of Maier`s
'Atalanta Fugiens' music, but unsuccessfully. I know the thing I want
is in Godwin`s new translation of 'Atalanta', (I'm not able to get the
copy), and few fugues are in Read's 'Prelude to Chemistry'.
I wonder if anyone might help concerning the (possible) www address?
Thanx in advance.

While I was searching WWW, I`ve found few pages on Michael Maier,
that might be useful for someone.

First, on (Biographisch-Bibliographischen
Kirchenlexicon) there is an item MAIER, by Ulrich Neumann, with few
article-titles not on Adam's Alchemy Articles Archive Project (like one
by Jacques Rebotier, or one by Hildemarie Streich, in German. Is this
the one published in Godwin's book?).

There is also Michael Maier Page on ,
with some 'Atalanta' - Sacred Geometry stuff.

Wishing you all, all the best,
Dusan Djordjevic Mileusnic

Subject: ACADEMY : Michael Maier's Music
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999
From: Mike Dickman


Click on the following link:


Subject: ACADEMY : Nordenskjold's iron-stove
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999
From: Susanna Åkerman

In the exhibition "framtidstro" (future belief, i. e. hope for the future)
now at Nordiska museet, Stockholm there is a section on the
hope for paradise and one sub-section exhibits the iron stove of
August Nordenskjold, the late eighteenth-century Finnish-Swedish
alchemist who spoke of his plan of making plenty of gold to
undermine the world monetary system. He also draw up a plan for
a Swedenborgian utopian society in west Africa.

His alchemical oven is about 1 meter high, 40 centimeters in width
and with a tetradic (pyramid-shaped) top and with a small door in
front. The interior of this probably portable stove is missing, there
may have been a plain iron rack inside or even a brick tiling to
keep the heat at constant temperature. It is a wonderfully
suggestive oven in its small proportion but I wonder if iron stoves
of this kind can keep the low heating temperatures necessary
for the work.

Are there other authentic alchemical ovens made of iron around
or are the remaining ones mainly of the older type with brick,
clay or stone around the furnace?

Are there many older alchemical ovens still preserved today?
It would be interesting to know how many alchemical ovens
have been preserved and where one can see them.

Susanna Åkerman

Subject: ACADEMY : Nordenskjold's iron-stove
From: Klaus Oberhummer
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999

At the technical Museum in Vienna we have an old Ichthyol
producing oven. (Trockene Destillation bituminoser Schiefer).
It was used in Tyrol and the legend tells that Ichthyol stems from the
blood of the Giant/god Tyr/Tuersis, who was killed by Haimo/Hoedr.
Maybe this was one of the early legends that oil originates from
an animal.

A typical Austrian oven is the Kachelofen, which was used for
alchemical purposes too.

A famous oven was constructed by Johann Joachim Becher. He
made gas from coal in England, but I have no picture of it.

One of the most important oven series was used by the
Arkanisten(Porzellanmaler) to make porcelain.
It began with the Hohlspiegel(mirror) of Tschirnhaus-Boettger.

At the technical museum in Vienna we have an imperial-
Hohlspiegel(mirror) zur Diamantverdampfung.

We have a Kerotakis and a Balneum Mariae and several
distillation apparatus.

At the end of the phlogistic period, Paul Traugott Meissner
saw hot or cold air flowing like a liquid, and so he constructed
Hei?luftheizungen(Umwalzungsprinzip). Several buildings in
Vienna were heated by his constructions.

Best regards,

Klaus Oberhummer

Subject: ACADEMY : Olomouc
From: Penny Bayer
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999

Dear Academy,

I am trying to find out the best way to make enquiries in
Olomouc about sixteenth century land ownership ( possibly by
an alchemist). I wondered if anyone on this forum lives in Olomouc,
or has English-speaking contacts in Olomouc, or perhaps in
Prague, who could advise me?

Best wishes
Penny Bayer

Subject: ACADEMY : Authorship of Mutus liber
From: Adam McLean
Date: 21 October 1999

Yesterday I bought a copy of the second edition of the French
version of Jacques van Lennep's 'Alchimie'. This has some
additional sections at the end of the book. Among these was a note
on the authorship of the 'Mutus liber'. Jacques van Lennep discusses
the attribution to 'Isaac Baulot' based on the discovery of the note
in the copy of the work in Marsh's Library in Dublin. I have discussed
this in a posting to the alchemy e-mail discussion groups earlier this

The 'Mutus liber' is not an entirely wordless book. Three of the plates
have words upon them. The final plate has the phrase "oculatus abis"
on the speech banners emerging from the mouths of the man and
woman. "Having been given eyes to see, you can depart" is a rough
translation. Jacques van Lennep points out something new to me,
the fact that this phrase is an anagram of "Isaac Baulot".

This serves surely to confirm the "Isaac Baulot" attribution.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Rituals of Initiation and Alchemy
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999
From: Henrik Bogdan

Dear Academy,

My name is Henrik Bogdan and I am a Ph. D. Candidate at the
University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Department of Religious
Studies. I am doing research into Western Esoteric Rituals of
Initiation, and wonder if anyone could recommend any books
that deals with Alchemy and Rituals of Initiation. I am primarily
interested in the so-called Higher Degrees or Additional Degrees,
of the Masonic tradition(s). Any books in English, French, German,
Italian or Spanish are of interest to me.

Best regards,

Henrik Bogdan

Subject: ACADEMY : Olomouc
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999
From: Michal Pober

Penny Bayer wrote:
>I am trying to find out the best way to make enquiries in
>Olomouc about sixteenth century land ownership ( possibly by
>an alchemist). I wondered if anyone on this forum lives in Olomouc,
>or has English-speaking contacts in Olomouc, or perhaps in
>Prague, who could advise me?

Penny - I think I can probably help you with this.
I know archivists who travel to all the main archives here.
Please let me know the information that you are seeking,
perhaps offline:

It might be good if you also let me know your degree of urgency.

Best Regards,
Michal Pober

Subject: ACADEMY : Rituals of Initiation and Alchemy
Date: 21 Oct 1999
From: Adam McLean

I suspect one will search very long for any references to rituals
of initiation and alchemy before the 18th Century. This seems to
be manifested in groups around the order of the Golden and
Rosy Cross.

A modern source for some of this information is Kenneth
Mackenzie's Royal Masonic Encyclopaedia, 1875-1877. This
is a muddled poorly researched and overly romanticised view
of Masonry, but it is has been very influential in constructing the
modern non scholarly view of the links between alchemy,
masonic ritual, and rosicrucians. It is well worth reading to see
the folly of poor scholarship and the distorted ideas to which
this can lead.

The best source for a historical assessment in English of the
Golden and Rosy Cross is Christopher McIntosh's 'The Rose Cross
and the Age of Reason'. Brill, Leiden, 1992. In this book, which is
based on Christopher McIntosh's Ph.D. thesis, he documents the
Gold- und Rosenkreutz order and its ritual elements. This book has
many references to the source material on which McIntosh drew,
especially the Kloss collection in the Library of the Grand Lodge
of the Netherlands, also Fessler and Schroeder's 'Rosenkreuzerey',

You should try and get access to a copy, even if just for the
bibliography. I expect most of the source material you will need to
consult is in German. The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
in Amsterdam has a fine collection of this 18th century material.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Rituals of Initiation and Alchemy
From: William S. Aronstein
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999

Dear Henrik,

The compendium of Albert Pike "Morals and Dogma of the Scottish
Rite" comes to mind. In his wide-ranging and eclectic study of
initiatic traditions, Brother Pike does mention alchemical antecedents.

Best regards,

William S. Aronstein

Subject: ACADEMY : Authorship of Mutus liber
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999
From: ME Warlick

To Adam and the group,
Does anyone know more about the Isaac Baulot text in Dublin?
Is it a copy of the version from La Rochelle, 1677 or from Manget
1702? Could it possibly be an earlier manuscript? I may have
an opportunity to look at it next summer, but need some additional
information about its whereabouts, etc. to include a short discussion
of it in a grant proposal. So, has anyone on this list inspected this text?
Also, if anyone knows of additional studies of the Mutus Liber,
besides those cited by Lennep and Adam's study, I would greatly
appreciate it. Thanks

M. E. Warlick

Subject: ACADEMY : Authorship of Mutus liber
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999
From: Adam McLean

>Is it a copy of the version from La Rochelle, 1677 or from Manget
>1702? Could it possibly be an earlier manuscript?

It is the printed book of La Rochelle, 1677. It has an inscription
identifying it as by Baulot. Marcella Gillick looked at this
last year.

>Also, if anyone knows of additional studies of the Mutus Liber,
>besides those cited by Lennep and Adam's study, I would greatly
>appreciate it.

Die Alchemie und ihr Stummes Buch [Mutus Liber]. [Edited by
Eugene Canseliet.] Amsterdam. 1991.

Bor, D. Z. O Kamenu Filosofu. Lamsprinck, Pojednání o filosofickém
kamenu. Altus, Mutus liber. Libavius, O kamenu filosofu. Prague: Trigon, 1993.

Carvalho, José Jorge de. Mutus liber. O livro mudo da alquímia.
Um estudo da simbologia alquímica nas imagens do Mutus Liber,
incluindo reprodução integral das pranchas de La Rochelle, 1677.
São Paulo: Attar Editorial, 1995.

De Rola, Stanislas Klossowski. The Golden Game. Thames and
Hudson: London, 1988.

Gabriele, Mino. Commentario sul "Mutus Liber". Milan: Archè, 1974.

Hutin, Serge. Commentaires sur le Mutus Liber. Mezière-les-Metz:
Éditions Le Lien, 1966.

Martinez-Otero, Luís Miguel. Comentários al Mutus Liber. Seguida
de una Hipotiposis de Magophon. Madrid: Luís Cárcamo Editor, 1986.

Mutus Liber... preceded by an explicative hypotypose of Magophon
[Pierre Dujols]. Stavanger. 1985.

Mutus Liber. Reproduction des 15 planches en couleur d'un manuscript
du XVIIIeme siècle. Introduction et commentaire par Jean Laplace.
Milan: Archè, 1979.

Mutus Liber. [Preface and introduction by Patrick Riviere]. Éditions
Ramuel, Villeselve, 1995.

Mutus Liber. Tradução e Nota Introdutória de Miguel Angel Muñoz
Moya. Barcelona: Muñoz Moya y Montraveta Editores. Biblioteca
Esotérica, no. 30. 1988.

Peradejordi, Julio. Cuatro Tratados de Alquimia. Barcelona:
Edicomunicación, 1986.

Le Triomphe Hermétique. Introduction et notes d'Eugène Canseliet.
Précédées du Mutus Liber avec une hypotypose de Magophon.
Denoël, Paris, 1971.

Uzcategui, Oscar. Le Mutus Liber... parle. Le Livre muet de l'alchimie
dévoilé par la gnose. Éditions Nemoz, 1982.

Subject: ACADEMY : Rituals of Initiation and Alchemy
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999
From: Michael Srigley

Dear Henrik,

You might find it interesting to look at the emblematic engravings
of Heinrich Khunrath's 'Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae'
(1609) in terms of alchemical initiation. Plate III shows figures
entering a cavern above which are the words, 'Procul hic
abeste profani' taken from the Eleusinian mysteries.
These engravings are reproduced in 'A Christian Rosenkreutz
Anthology' (1974 ed), ed. Paul M. Allen. Closer to masonic ritual
is Thomas Vaughan's 'Lumen de Lumine' (1651) illustrated by
an initiary scene with a blindfolded candidate. This can be found
in the above 'Anthology' and the full text is given in 'The Works
of Thomas Vaughan' (Oxford, 1984), ed. Alan Rudrum. Vaughan
was a close friend of the freemason, Sir Robert Moray, and wrote
the Preface to the English translation of the Rosicrcuian 'Fama'
and 'Confessio', published in 1652.

I hope this will be of some use to you,

Michael Srigley

Subject: ACADEMY : De essentiis essentiarum, alchemy and magic
From: Jose Rodríguez
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999

>I wonder if anyone could help me with information or bibliography
>concerning the (c.thirteenth century) alchemical work, the 'De essentiis
>The De essentiis essentiarum relates to another interest of my
>research - the relationhip between alchemy and magic ...

Dear Sophie:
Are you researching in the relationships between alchemy and magic?
It is really interesting! Right now I'm working in an article (in Spanish)
dedicated to the development of the supernatural ideas (without
the possibility of rational explanation. It is the foundation of a
magical science), "praeter natural" ideas (without a rational
explanation in the natural field) and the natural ideas (rational
explanation in the natural field) in Muslim and European alchemy
in the Middle Ages.

One of the alchemical works in the Middle Ages with a real high-level
of magical techniques is the Codex Vind. 2372 in Vienna (Austria
National Library). There is a great critical edition of this codex in:

HELMUT BIRKHAN, (1992), 'Die alchemistische Lehrdichtung
des Gratheus filius philisophi in Cod. Vind. 2372. Zugleich ein
Beitrag zur okkulten Wissenschaft im Spätmittelalter', Wien:
Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2 vol.

The text has been dated to the second half of 14th century and
explains about how to invoke marvellous stars with rare names
(Ella, Minella, Fella, Sella, Stella, Enella, Eli, Peli, Oli, Sitili, etc.);
how to use the 'powers' of magical stones in the alchemical operations;
how to make magical receptacles called 'Sorros', 'Sopos', 'Arra',
'Alla', 'Sesses', 'Saminas', 'Renifera'... and finally how to make a
magical head which speaks about astrological secrets in relation
to the alchemical Opus.

Concerning the work 'De essentiis essentiarum, there are many
printed editions and I think that the first is: 'Opusculum praeclarum Beati
Tomae Aquinatis. Quod esse et essentiis tum realibus tum
intentionalibus inscribitur', in-4º, Venise, Johann Lucilius Santtriter,
Girolamo de Sanctis et Francesco Bollano,1488.


Cambrai MS. 919 (818). 14th Century.
Summa de essencia essenciarum, a beato Thoma de Aquino
compilata. Cum prima causa et prima ex altitudine sapiencie...

Montpellier, École de Médecine MS. 479 [Albani 910.] 15th Century.
S. Tomas de esse et essentia mineralium.

St. Gallen, Bibliothek Vadiana MS. 390. End of 15th Century.
Liber esse et de essentia (scil. mineralium) St. Thome de Aquino.

Leiden MS. Vossianus Chym. Q. 45. 16th Century [before 1574.]
Thomas Capellanus, De essentiis essentiarum.

Subject: ACADEMY : Articles on Kelly and Dee
From: Adam McLean
Date: 26th October 1999

There is an excellent and very full article on Edward Kelly by
Michael Wilding in the just published issue of Cauda Pavonis.
This also includes a shorter article by Urszula Szulakowska
on 'Paracelsian Medicine in John Dee's Alchemical Diaries'.

For those wishing to purchase a copy see the Cauda Pavonis
web site.

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : Authorship of Mutus liber
From: Marcella Gillick
Date: 26 Oct 1999

Dear M.E. Warlick,

If you plan to view this book you may wish to visit
the Marsh Library's website at:-

(It had occurred to me that the original owner of this
book may have known the author - the very extensive (French)
diaries of Elias Bouhereau, the first librarian, for example, may
contain some hints

Best wishes