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Advanced Study Course on the 'Metamorphosis of the Planets'
by Adam McLean
The study course is now available as a book or as a downloadable pdf file.
In the middle part of the 17th century this remarkable extended allegory appeared. It was written in German by the alchemist Johannes de Monte-Snyder. It attracted a great deal of attention due to the complexity of its allegorical material. Isaac Newton, in particular, struggled for years to understand and interpret it, and a number of his notebooks discuss this work.
It remains perhaps the most puzzling and complex of all alchemical allegories, extending over 31 chapters, and a number of people who have tried to make sense of it over the years have given up in despair, claiming it was a barbarous piece of unstructured nonsense. However, Adam McLean shows in this course that if it is read sensitively, then it does reveal its underlying structure. It can then be seen not as a rambling muddle of classical allegory, but an exploration of the ways in which the metals are metamorphosed through the alchemical work, seen through the perspective of mid 17th century alchemical philosophy. As an allegory it links together the spiritual side of alchemy with actual physical laboratory processes. Monte-Snyder was himself a practical laboratory alchemist, known across Europe in his day for the various transmutations he performed. So this work does not merely present a theoretical intellectual alchemy, but deals with actual laboratory processes expressed in an emblematic and allegorical form. Monte-Snyder wrapped his laboratory processes in a beautiful and fascinating garment of classical allegory.

The coursebook is available in paperback direct from the printer, Amazon.


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Adam McLean has devised this study course to allow the work to speak its message clearly. For the first time this work is explained in depth line by line, section by section, idea by idea. This course will be entirely based on understanding the structure of the allegory and the text itself. McLean's approach, as in his other work with alchemical material, is to uncover what is actually in the text itself and resist the temptation to make a trite interpretation, or project a mass of external ideas onto the work.
Following his usual approach, McLean does not resort to mystification, supposed secret teachings, or trying to explain this work through the filter of modern esotericism, nor by appealing to external (and later) sources, but instead focuses on what is contained in the text itself. Rather, he lets the work reveal itself by explaining the text from inside its own ideas.
The course is entirely self contained, though not designed for beginners. It provides for the first time a detailed in-depth explanation of this alchemical allegory. This course should only be taken by people who have read a number of other allegorical works and have at least an acquaintance with the main alchemical ideas and approaches. The original work is possibly the most difficult of all alchemical allegories, so those who have not done some background reading will find this course too difficult. This is definitely an advanced course !
If you want to try to understand one of the most challenging of all alchemical works, and then please take this course. This course is not, however, for those who have little experience of alchemical material.
This course of 12 lessons is designed to be studied on a fortnightly schedule over about six months.

If you have any questions before you purchase this course please email Adam McLean

Please note these lessons are copyright ©2005 Adam McLean, and no part may be reproduced or distributed in any form (including the Internet) without the permission of Adam McLean.