The Monistic Theory

by Nhân Tử Nguyễn Văn Thọ

TOC | Preface | Chapters: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19

Chapter 11

Esoteric Alchemy and the Monistic Theory


Alchemy is of a twofold nature: an outward, or exoteric, and a hidden, or esoteric. Exoteric alchemy attempts to prepare a substance, the Philosophers' Stone, or simply the Stone, endowed with the power of transmuting the base materials, lead, tin, copper, iron into gold. The Stone was also known as the Elixir or Tincture, and was credited, not only with the power of transmutation, but also with that of prolonging human life indefinitely.

Esoteric alchemy, or mystical alchemy, aims at the transformation of sinful man (Lead) into a perfect being (Gold) through prayer, submission to the will of God, and through union with God (Philosophers' Stone). In this sense, Alchemy is defined by Wilmshurst as "the exact science of the Regeneration of the human soul from its sense-immersed state into the perfection and nobility of that divine condition in which it was originally created". [1]

We will not make an exhaustive study of Alchemy. We are not concerned with the acquisition of the material gold through alchemical process nor we are interested in presenting the history of Alchemy as well as the life of famous Alchemists such as: Hermes Trismegistus (date unknown - pre-Christian), Gerbert afterwards Pope Sylvester II (999-1003), Michael Scott (1194-1250), Albert the Great (1193-1280), Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Raymond Lully (1235-1315), Roger Bacon (1214-1294), Nicholas Flamel (1330-1418), Basil Valentine (the end of the 15th century), Paracelsus (1493-1541) Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) etc We will study Alchemy only as the endorser of the Monistic Theory, and as a proponent of the mystical union with God. The Alchemical Quest of the Philosopher's Stone and the views of Alchemists concerning the Universe and Men also are of special concern.

The Emerald Table (Tabula Smaragdina) of Hermes Trismegistus as the Alchemists' Magna Charta of the Monistic Theory


1. True it is, without falsehood, certain and most true.

What is below is like what is above, and what is above is like what is below, for accomplishing the marvels of the One Thing.

2. And as all things were from one Thing, by the mediation of one thing, so all things were born from this one Thing, by adaptation.

3. Its father is the Sun, its mother is the Moon. The Wind carried it in the womb; its nurse is the Earth.

4. It is the father of all the Perfection of the whole world.

5. Its power is integral, if it be turned into Earth.

6. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the Subtle from the Gross, smoothly and with judgment.

7. It ascends from the Earth into the Heaven, and again descends into the Earth and unites in itself the powers of things superior and things inferior. Thus, you will receive the brightness of the whole world and all obscurity will fly far from you.

8. It is the strong fortitude of all fortitude, for it will overcome every subtle thing and penetrate every solid.

9. Thus was the world created.

10. Hence, there will be marvelous adaptations of which the manner is this.

11. For this reason, I am called Hermes Trismegistus, because I hold three parts of the wisdom of the world.

12. That which I had to say about the operation of the Sun is completed. [2]


There are many versions of the Emerald Tablet: Phoenician, Latin, Arabic. It is then natural to find divergence between these versions: For instance, the sentence: "What is below is like what is above, and what is above is like what is below, for accomplishing the marvels of one Thing" can also be rendered as follows: "The highest comes from the lowest, and the lowest from the highest". (Arabic version). [3]

The former version (Latin) emphasizes on the law of analogy; the later version (the Arabic) stresses on the interconnections and the interdependence between things in the world.

The ninth sentence, in the Latin version runs: "Thus is the world created". It is rendered in the Arabic version as follows: "Thus the little world is created according to the prototype of the great world." "The little world", perfect image of the "great world" is man, when he has realized his original nature, which was "made in the image of God." [4]

The tenth sentence is rendered differently: "From this and in this way, marvelous applications are made". In the Arabic text: "This way is traversed by the sages" [5] Or: "Thus, in this very manner, wondrous aggregations come about." [6] We can see, anyhow, that the Emerald Table is the advocate of the Monistic Theory:

In the first sentence, Hermes declares emphatically that the world is an Organic Whole, in which every part is interconnected, interdependent.

In the second sentence, Hermes asserts that everything proceeds from the One by Adaptation, i.e. by all the mechanisms of changes.

In the third sentence, it is asserted that the One is immanent in everything in the world, such as sun, moon, wind, earth...

In the fourth sentence, it is suggested that only this immanence of the One can explain all the marvelous phenomena of the world.

From the fifth to the seventh sentences, The Emerald Table brings out the significance of the movement up-and-down, down-and-up. This cyclical movement is termed as Involution and Evolution, or Egress and Regress, Expansion and Contraction etc. In reading these sentences, we can visualize that the same Spirit of the Universe is All-pervasive: It can be embodied, but also can be liberated from the fetters of elemental and phenomenal world.

The Alchemist, in possession of these keys, will soon realize that the Divine Spirit is always present in his own soul. This Spirit can be captive for a while, can be immersed in the world of bodily sensations, and of material phenomena, but can also be divested from all formal "coagulation" and soars back to the divine sphere, its original status. Endowed with such a knowledge, "you will acquire the glory of the whole world", namely by your union with the Spirit, which is the source of all light, "and all darkness will leave you". This means that ignorance, deception, uncertainty, doubt and foolishness will be removed from consciousness. [7] 

The eighth sentence again asserts that the One is the all-pervasive power that penetrates everything fine and gross, subtle and solid. As this all-pervasive power has created everything in the macrocosm, this same power will create everything in the microcosm, namely in Man.

This is the meaning of sentences ninth and tenth.

The eleventh sentence runs: "For this reason, I am called Hermes Trismegistus, for I possess the three parts of wisdom of the whole world. Trismegistus means "thrice-great" or "thrice powerful". The "three parts of wisdom" correspond to the three great divisions of the universe, namely, the spiritual, psychic and corporeal realms, whose symbols are heaven, air, and earth. [8]

If we are not lured by the inferior aspect of Alchemy, which aims to transmute vile metals into gold, we can use the Emerald Table as guide to the superior phase of Alchemy, the transmutation of the Soul into the Divine Spirit. It teaches that everything in the universe is interconnected as parts of a Whole, that all the manifold forms in which matter occurs have but a single origin: a Universal Soul permeates both macrocosm and microcosm, and this unity in diversity implies the possibility of transmutation. Thus this Universal Soul is immanent in us. Its quest is the aim of our transcendental Alchemy; to purify and to prepare our soul are preliminary phases in our Alchemical process; and the final union of our soul with the Divine Spirit, with the Universal Soul which is also the Philosopher's Stone which transmutes our human soul into the Divine One, will be the completion of the Great Work.

In this way, the Emerald Tablet will be for us a "Pegasus to supramundane travel".

The main tenets of Alchemy

The One:

To the Alchemists, all the phenomena of the world are differentiation and combinations of a single prime energy, inaccessible to ordinary sense. For them, if Creation develops itself from the One to the multiplicity, Alchemy proceeds from the multiplicity to the One. The differentiation of a Prime-Source substance into a phenomenal world is an operation of Alchemy in the Macrocosm; the conversion of all psychic phenomena into the Divine Spirit immanent in man is the Alchemy in the Microcosm. These two kinds of Alchemy operate in reverse directions: the former proceeds by analysis and multiplication; the later functions by synthesis and reduction to Unity. Therefore, a true Alchemist envisions the world as a Whole, as a unity under the veil of multiplicity: he devotes his life to the quest of the One. What is the One? As followers of Hermes Trismegistus, of Aristotle, the Alchemists believed that everything derived from only one Stuff. This indefinable, ineffable, all-pervasive Stuff is called by various names which can be classified under these following rubrics:

Religious names:

God, Allah, Tao, Spirit, Great Master, Spiritus Mundi, Soul of the World, Trinity, Christ.

Philosophical names:

The Quinta Essentia, Chaos, the Inchoate, the One, Quintessence, the Universal Matter, the Stuff of the Universe, the Prime or Primitive Matter, Prima Materia, the Universal Matter, the Basic Stuff, the First and the Last, Alcahest, the Ouroboros, Azoth, the Active Principle of All Substance, the Absolute etc

Pharmaceutical and medical names:

Elixir of Life, Elixir Vitae, Magisterium Medicine, Great Elixir of Quintessence, Universal Panacea, etc

Alchemical names:

Philosopher's Stone, Stone of Egypt, Stone, the Sublimate, Aurum Potabile, Mercurius Animatus, Green Lion, Dragon, Menstruum, Serpent, Acid Water, Vinegar, Philosophical Sulfur and Mercury, Universal Solvent, Philosophic Mercury, Cervus Fugitivus, Alchemical Essence of all things, Powder of Projection etc

Thus, the Alchemists equate the One with God and with The Philosopher's Stone. It is worth noting that in most Alchemical writings, the Alchemists avoid speaking of God, as a personal God. One tendency is use alchemical or philosophical names of the One, instead of its religious names.

The slogan of "All is One" is emphasized by the Greek word: EN TO PAN and by the symbol of the Ouroboros, the Serpent biting its tail. The Ouroboros stands for the great cosmic cycle where the ending equates the beginning; the beginning equates the ending, so that ω = α .

The same idea is rendered by AZOTH which consists of the First and the Last letters of the Greek alphabet; of Latin alphabet, A and Z; and of the Hebrew alphabet, A and T, or Aleph and Tau.

The Stone, also, is one and manifold: in analysis, it is a powder, which is incorporated in all things; before analysis and in synthesis, it is a Stone. Thus the Philosopher's Stone has two aspects: it is immanent and at the same time transcendent to the world. Thus, the Stone is far and near, manifest and hidden. For the sage, it is his inner Spirit, but for the fool, it is the cervus fugitivus which can never be conquered.

Gerhard Dorn, in the Sixteenth Century, tells us:

"The Coelum (The Stone) therefore is a heavenly substance and a universal form, containing in itself all forms, distinct from one another but proceeding from one single universal form..." [9]

In Elias Ashmole' s Theatricum Chemicum, p. 336, The Stone is described as:

"One thing was first employed,

Which shall not be destroyed:

It compasseth the world so round,

A matter easy to be found:

And yet most hard to come by,

A secret of secret pardye,

That is most vile and least set by,

But it's my Love and Darling,

Conceived with all living thing,

And travels to the world's endings."

A child begetting his own Father, and bearing his Mother, killing himself to give life and light to all other,

"Is that I meane,

Most mild and most extreme.

Did not the world that dwelt in me,

Take form and walk forth visibly;

And did not I then dwell in It,

That dwelt in me for to unite

Three Powers in one seat to sit." [10]

These descriptions of the Stone do not mean indeed a true Stone, but allude to the Immanent God in us, without whose power no transmutation is possible.

The Stone has also as synonym, Alkahest. According to some authors, it is derived from the German All-Geist, Universal Spirit, or from All-Ist. It is All-Nothing is more explicit than these descriptions... [11]

In some books, we can find the Stone termed as green lion, mercury, mercurius animatus, serpent, dragon, acid water, vinegar etc. [12]

These appellations aimed only to throw confusion in the mind of the readers, lest they know about the true nature of the Stone. Hitchcock equates the Stone with our conscience. [13]

This is a marvelous work. The conscience is in fact the voice of God which declares His presence in the innermost of our soul. To live a life in accordance with the injunctions of our conscience will lead us to a spiritual perfection.

Joachin Frizius, whom some think identical with Fludd (1574-1637), wrote that the Stone stands for the Trinity indwelling in man. [14]

On that cornerstone is built the macrocosm as well as the microcosm. [15]

Therefore the quest for the Stone must be inward.

"Again, wrote Arthur Edward Waite, the genuine Alchemists were not in pursuit of worldly wealth or honors. Their real object was the perfection, or at least, the improvement of men. According to this theory, such perfection lies in a certain unity, a living sense of the unity of the human with the divine nature, the attainment of which, I can liken to nothing so well as to the experience known in religion as the NEW BIRTH. The desired perfection or unity, is a state of the soul, a condition of Being, and not a mere condition of Knowing. This condition of Being is a development of the nature of men from within, the result of the process by which whatever is evil in our nature is cast out or suppressed, under the name of superfluidities, and the good thereby allowed opportunities for free activity. As this result is scarcely accessible to the unassisted natural man, and requires the concurrence of divine power, it is called Donum Dei." [16]

In the main, the quest for the Philosopher's Stone, the quest for the DIVINE, which despite of its all-pervasiveness and transcendence, is nevertheless IMMANENT in Man, should be done by Introversion, Meditation and Concentration. Alchemists said that for so doing, we should have VITRIOL available. And for them, V.I.T.R.I.O.L stands for: "Visita interiora terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapidem". 'Visit the interior of the earth and by purification you will find the secret Stone", a sentence obtained from the word Vitriol by Notarikon. The interior of the earth means of course the interior of the soul. And by the purification of our soul from earthly desires and attachments, we can see God. This reminds us of similar ideas expressed in the New Testament. In Luke, 17:21, we read: "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you", and in Matthew 5,8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

The Two: the Living Male and Female.

The One, assimilated with the indifferentiated Godhead or Kether is always represented as Androgyne. To manifest itself into the phenomenal world, it should first divide itself into two opposite energies, termed as Yin and Yang, Masculine and Feminine, Creative Principle and Formative Principle, the Positive and the Negative. The Purusa and the Shakti of the Indian Philosophy, the Yang and the Yin of the Yi Jing, the Binah and the Hockmah of the Kabbalah, become the Sun and the Moon, the Sulphur and the Mercury, the Spirit and the Soul in the Alchemy.

The Spirit stands for the Eternal, the Immutable; the Soul stands for the Ephemeral, the Transient and the Mortal, the Ever-Changing.

Contrary to the orthodox teachings of the institutional Church which hold that the Soul is immortal, the Alchemists regard it as perishable and transitory. For them, only the Spirit is immortal. Tyhey based their belief upon the Bible: In Ezechiel, 18:4, we read: "The soul that sinned, it shall die", and in Ecclesiastes 12:7, "and the Spirit shall return unto God who gave it." [17]

Therefore, by its proper action, the Soul can never be saved. Its condition, as human being, is necessarily mortal. The Tree of Life has been kept away from him, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live for ever" (Genesis, 3:22).

The human soul can only be regenerated, if it is illuminated by the divine rays of the Immanent Spirit. Through faith and proximity to the immanent God, the consciousness of man may be transmuted from base animal desires into a pure, golden, and godly consciousness, illuminated and redeemed, and the manifesting God within that one increased from a tiny spark to a great and glorious Being, and the based metals of mental ignorance can, through proper endeavor and training, through the touch of the Eternal Light, can also be transmuted into transcendent genius and wisdom...The Soul and the Spirit cannot exist separately, cannot work separately. They should be merged into a new entity. This final status is termed as Hieros Gomos, Sacred Marriage, Mysterium Conjunctionis (the mystery of conjunction), the mystical union with God. In symbolism, it is represented by Mercury = the conjunction of the Sun (Spirit) and the Moon (Soul).

The Three: The Sulphur-Mercury-Salt theory: The Spirit-Soul-Body theory.

Later, in the history of Alchemy, The Mercury-Sulphur theory was extended by the addition of a third elementary principle, Salt. If Sulphur stands for Fire, Mercury, Water, Salt will represent the Earth. Albert Pike assimilates Sulphur with the elementary form of fire, Mercury with the Air and Water, and Salt with the Earth. [18]

Interestingly enough, the Alchemists professed the tripartite conception of Man; Spirit (Sulphur), Soul (Mercury), and Body (Salt). This view about man was in flagrant contradiction with the current teachings of the Church which always defined man as composed only of Soul and Body. While Paul professed also a tripartite conception of man: Spirit, Soul and Body in 1 Thessalonians, 5:23, the Latran IV Council (1215) and the Vatican I Council (1870) promulgate the dogma on Man as composed of Soul and Body and anathematized all the partisans of the tripartite conception.

So, for the Alchemists, "body" is the outward manifestation and form; "soul" is the inward individual spirit; and "spirit" is the universal Soul" in all men. [19]

In the book of Lambspring, there is a symbolical illustration, representing the Trinity of Body, Soul and Spirit, in which the Sea is the Body; the two Fishes are Soul and Spirit. [20]

By the inclusion of the Divine Spirit as an essential element in Man, once again, Alchemy posits that God is in everything; that He is One Universal Spirit, manifested through an infinity of forms. God, therefore is the spiritual seed planted in the dark earth (material universe). [21]

The Four: The Four Elements.

As we have said before, the Four Elements is one of the main tenets of the Monistic Theory. It is, then, natural that the Four Elements are professed by the Alchemists.

The meanings of the Four Elements are manifold: Under the names of Fire, Air, Water, Earth, the Four Elements can signify:

1)- The 4 basic elements composing the material world. Philoleos even defined the elements in term of geometrical figures: earth was made up by a cube, fire by a tetrahedron, air by the octahedron, water by the icosahedron (geometrical figures of 6,4,8,12 faces respectively). [22]

2)- The 4 aspects of the four status of the One (The Cosmic Stuff). According to Aristotle, the basis of the material world was a prime or primitive matter, which had, however, only a potential existence until impressed by 'forms'. By form, he did not mean shape only by all that conferred upon a body, its specific properties. In its simplest manifestation, form gave rise to the four elements: fire, air, water and earth, which are distinguished from one another by their 'qualities'. The four primary qualities are the fluid (or moist), the dry, the hot and the cold, and each element possesses two of them. Hot and cold, however, and fluid and dry are contraries, and cannot be coupled; hence the four possible combinations of them in pairs are:

Hot and dry, assigned to Fire,

Hot and fluid (or moist) assigned to Air,

Cold and fluid, assigned to Water,

Cold and dry, assigned to Earth.

In each element, one quality predominates over the other; in Earth, dryness; in Water, cold; in Air, fluidity; and in Fire, heat. None of the four elements is unchangeable; they may pass into one another through the medium of that quality which they possess in common; thus Fire can become Air, through the medium of heat; Air can become Water through the medium of fluidity; and so on. Two elements taken together, may become a third by removing one quality from each, subject to this limitation that this process must not leave two identical or contrary qualities; thus Fire and Water, by parting with the dry and cold qualities, could give rise to Earth. In all these changes, it is 'form' that alters; the prime matter of which the element are made, never changes, however diverse and numerous changes of form may be. [23]

It is very important to bear in mind, that the Alchemists asserted that the four elements composed the world of phenomena, ever-changing by the various combinations of these four elements, which, in turn, are also nothing else than transient aspects of the One. If we do not consider Fire, Air, Water, and Earth as true Fire, Air, Water and Earth, but only as suggestions to four basic components of the phenomenal world characterized by their specific densities and their tendencies (Up or Down), we can assimilate Fire to Leptons, Water to Baryons, Air to Mesons + (with clockwise spin), and Earth with Mesons - (anti-clockwise spin), we can have this figure: 

It is worth noting that Ancient people used these terms only to convey their ideas, so they are free to use Fire and Water as two extremes, seeing that Fire is associated with spectacular upward movement, and Water with its downward flow and that they are opposites. It is natural that they consider Air and Earth as middle terms. Besides, it is also understandable that Indians and Tibetans prefer the following vertical order:





The ideas conveyed in this figure can be compared with the following diagrams, one taken from Jewish mysticism, another taken from the Yi-Jing:


We can grasp now the main bases of Alchemists' thinking:

1). The idea of the unitary process in nature, of some ultimate substance out of which all things sprang and are built up.

2). The idea of the interplay of opposites or polar forces which are held together by the overriding unity, as the force driving the universe onwards.

3). All sensible phenomena, all composites are manifold aggregations of the four elements.

4). As all these aggregations are transitory, all composites are then also subject to dissolution, to corruption, and hence perishable.

5). As our body is composed of the four elements, it should be perishable.

6). Furthermore, even the four elements are not everlasting elements, but they are continuously transforming themselves into one another.

7). Everything is then transient, and ever-changing. The only thing /unchanged is the One, also called the Philosopher's Stone.

8). Therefore, theoretically, and practically, based metals, such as Lead, can be transmuted into Gold by nature and by man.

9). The world created by the aggregation of the four elements is called the world of multiplicity, the corruptible elementary world. The four elements are termed 'corruptible elementary elements'.

10). In their quest of immortality, alchemists endeavored to seek the incorruptible element which transcends the world of multiplicity, but at the same time is immanent in it. This element is the Prima Materia as we have seen, or the Quintessence which we will deal with, later on.

11). The art of Alchemy is aimed to disentangle the human soul from the perishable world of appearances, to raise it above "The Cross of Elements", or "Cosmic Tendencies"; then above the interplay of opposing forces, and finally to unite it with the Eternal Spirit.

12). The main claim of Alchemy is that the human soul can be transmuted into the Divine Spirit, by the loving touch of the latter, acting as Philosopher's Stone.

Alchemy is thus a cross-road where religion, philosophy, and science meet together.

It gives us marvelous insights into these fields.

Arthur Walley's translation of the book of the travel of the Taoist's Ch'ang Chung includes one little poem showing an identity of philosophical thought with the Western alchemical world:

"A temporary compound of the Four Elements,

The body at last must suffer decay.

The soul composed of one spiritual essence,

Is free to move wherever it will." [24]

Paul had similar views of the body, when he said: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Cor. 15:50).

Buddhist philosophers first admitted with Vasubandhu, Patriarch of the Abhidharma school, (4th century A. D.) that the world composed of the aggregates of elements was unreal. They made a further step, and admitted with Harivarman, Patriarch of the Satyasidhi School (5th century A. D.) that even the elements are unreal.

By the early nineteenth century, the atomic theory had been developed, and chemists were certain that it was quite impossible to manufacture gold under any circumstances. The change of one substance into another, they knew, was only the result of change in the way atoms were grouped.

"Grape juice contains sugar. Sugar molecules are made up of 45 atoms. These include 12 Carbon atoms, 22 Hydrogen atoms, and 11 Oxygen atoms. If the grape juice is allowed to stand, microscopic little plants, called yeast, break up these sugar molecules and change them into molecules of Alcohol and Carbon Dioxide. The Alcohol molecules are made up of 9 atoms each; these include 2 Carbon atoms, 6 Hydrogen atoms, and 1 Oxygen atom. The Carbon Dioxide molecules are made up of 3 atoms each; these include 1 Carbon atom and 2 Oxygen atoms. The atoms themselves aren't changed. The Carbon atoms in Alcohol are exactly the same as the Carbon atom in sugar. The same is true of the Hydrogen atoms and the Oxygen atoms. It is only the arrangement that is changed. But that is enough to make all the difference between grape and wine.

"The changes that we observe are like changes in patterns make up of colored threads. By using red, green, blue, and yellow threads, we can make any number of different patterns, but the red threads in one pattern will be just like the red threads in any other. We can't change the color of the red threads just by weaving them into a new pattern.

"In the same way, no matter how you change atomic combinations, you can't change one kind of atom into another.

"When an alchemist tried to change Mercury or Lead into Gold, that is exactly what he was trying to do, he was trying to change Mercury or Lead atoms into Gold atoms, and this was beyond his power.

"The chemists of the nineteenth century felt sure that transmutation was beyond anybody's power. Atoms were changeless, they thought. They could be neither split nor altered. Transmutation, they decide, must remain an impractical dream of the alchemists."  [25]

But transmutation became a fact in the 20th century: Atoms are not anymore indestructible. But their nuclei can be not only chipped away, but also split or even smashed.

Uranium 238, for instance, by emitting one Alpha particle, or a Beta particle, can give birth successively to Protactinium, Thorium, Actinium, Radium, Francium, Radon, Astatine, Polonium, Bismuth and Lead.

Nitrogen-14, when hit by cosmic rays, can be broken down and give birth to Carbon-14.

Man-made transmutation was accomplished in 1919, by Rutherford, and in 1925 by Blackett, using Alpha particles as bullets: Then Nitrogen-14 is changed into Oxygen-17 and Hydrogen-1. In 1932, in Rutherford Laboratory, Lithium-7 bombarded with protons as bullets, changed itself into 2 atoms of Helium-4.

Since then, many Transuranians were man-made:

By 1944, 95 Americanum and 96 Curium have been formed.

In 1949, 97 Berkelium and 98 Californium were made.

In 1954, 99 Einsteinium, and 100 Fermium have been manufactured.

In 1955, 101 Mendelevium was manufactured.

In 1957, 102 Nobelium was synthesized .

In 1961, 103 Laurencium was formed...

We should include in our list: 43 Technetium manufactured in 1937, and Promethium 61, in 1942.

Uranium 235, the nuclei of which, hit by proton bullets, to cause chain-reactions, are broken up in a few millionths of a second. And before very long, you would expect the Uranium to melt, boil, and vaporize away. This lead to the explosion of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and of two others launched over the cities of Hiroshima and Nasagaki in Japan, in August 1945.

Instead of the fission of the atoms of Uranium 235, now scientists can use temperatures of million of degrees to cause thermo-nuclear reactions. At such unbelievable temperatures, the electrons could be stripped away from the nuclei, the nuclei would be smashed together and nuclear reactions would result. Under the explosion of Uranium 235 as trigger, the heavy Hydrogen isotopes - Deuterion and Tritium- are combined with Lithium to form Helium, liberating enormous quantities of energy. This led to the creation of the H-bomb, or fusion-bomb.

Besides, in 1905, Einstein devised a complete new way of looking at the universe. In his Theory of Relativity, Einstein was able to show that matter and energy are really different forms of the same thing. Matter can be "destroyed" after all, but when it happens a certain amount of energy is "created".   [26]

To sum up, sciences can't contradict Alchemy...

The Five: The Fifth Element or the Quintessence.

We have just shown that the Four elements are only the corruptible Elements. In that case, it is very important to find out the Incorruptible One. This incorruptible element is termed as Quintessence, or Fifth Element. By describing it as eternal and incorruptible, we assimilate already the Quintessence with the Prima Materia, and we also find this equation in almost all the Alchemy Books. We read for instance in Alchemists through the Ages: "The Prima Materia has been defined as the fifth Element, or Quintessence, The Material Alpha and Omega, The Soul of the Elements, Living Mercury, Regenerative Mercury, a Metallic Soul etc. It is designated by such allegorical names as the Bird of Hermes, the Virgin's Son, The Son of the Sun and Moon, the Virgin's Head, Azoth etc. [27]

In that case, we can attribute to the Quintessence all the puzzling names given to the Prima Materia through the Ages, such as: Lapis Philosophicus (Philosopher's Stone), Aqua Vitae (Water of Life), Venenum (Poison), Spiritus (Spirit), Medicina (Medicine), Coelum (Sky), Nubes (Clouds), Ros (Dew), Umbra (Shadow), Stella Signata (Marked Star), Lucifer, Luna (Moon), Aqua Ardens (Fiery Water), Sponsa (Bethrothed), Conius (Wife), Mater, Mother (Eve), Virgo (Virgin), Lac Virginis (Virgin's Milk), Menstruum, Materia Hermaphrodita (Catholica Solis et Lunae (Catholic Hermaphrodite Matter of Sun and Moon) etc. [28]

Cockren places the alchemical quintessence in the following equation: Astral Light = Imponderable Ether = Quintessence = Electricity = Vedic Prana. [29]

Thomas Vaughan equates the Quintessence with the Living Spirit of God. [30]

Philosophically, we can say that the Quintessence is the Essence, while the Four Elements are Manifestations. The former is the Noumenon, the latter are the Phenomena.

Thus while the Prima Materia has no connection with space and time, The Quintessence has the connotation of immanence.

Therefore, if we put the Four Elements on the cardinal points of the circle, of the wheel of space-time, the Quintessence will occupy the hub of it.

Titus Burckhart wrote: "Alchemically speaking, the hub of the wheel is the Quintessence. By this, it meant either the spiritual pole of the Four Elements or their common substantial ground, Ether, in which they are all indivisibly contained. In order once again to attain to this center, the disequilibrium of the differentiated elements must be repaired: water must become fiery, fire liquid, earth weightless and air solid. Here however, one leaves the plane of the physical appearances and enters the realm of spiritual Alchemy." [31]

In representing the Quintessence, the Living Spirit of God in the Center, surrounded by the Four Elements, placed in the four cardinal points of the Circumference, we will have a new world-picture, in which the Center is not occupied by the Earth, nor by the Sun, but by God himself. Thus, our world view is not GEOCENTRIC, nor HELIOCENTRIC, but rather THEOCENTRIC. The All-Embracing Godhead is viewed as the radiating Center of all manifestations. The Cosmic Wheel is conceived as the Wheel of Change, the Wheel of Samsara, while the Center is looked upon as the Eternal Center, the Nirvana, transcending space and time...

Once again, the divine immanence is stressed: wherever is Phenomenon, there Essence is. God is, then, not only present in our self, but also in everything in the surrounding world, because all sensible things are characterized by their phenomenal aspects...

Then, the search for the Stone - The Quintessence - must be done inside man. "Hoec enim res a te extractabitur; cujus etiam minera tu existis" (this thing is extracted from you, for you are its mine). In fact, powers and life of the soul, and of nature, derive from the action of this world-spirit, this one essence underlying all the varied powers of nature, this One Thing from which "all things were produced... by adaptation, and which is the cause of all perfection throughout the whole world."

We can say with certainty that man has sprung from God, and has fallen away from Him, through self-love. Within man, however, is the seed of divine grace, whereby, if he will follow the narrow road of self-renunciation, he may be regenerated, born anew, becoming transformed into the likeness of God, and ultimately indissolubly united to God in love. Alchemy, through its charade, does not convey other teachings...

The Alchemist theory of Five Elements had its counterpart in the Yi Jing, in which the Quintessence is represented by the symbol Tai Ji (Thái Cực), or by the letter Tu (Thổ) , meaning the Universal Ground of everything, placed in the Center, while the double pair of opposite elements are put at the four cardinal points of the external circumference. We have the following figure: 

Indian and Tibetan people built their temples according to the Five Elements pattern, as follows:

Here the quintessence, in the Center, occupies the highest place of the figure. Thus, the Eternal Center of the universe will be the Most High in the temples. Similarly, the same pattern is repeated in man.

While the Four Elements and their aggregates belong to the sensible realm, and can be caught by senses, the Quintessence or Akasa, according to Indians, or Ether according to modern sciences, is infinite in extent, continuous and eternal. It cannot be apprehended by the senses. It is also described by certain authorities as all-pervasive, occupying the same place that is occupied by the various forms of matter, and devoid of the property of impenetrability, characterizing the elements. It does not convey matter, but also sound and light. Deussen quotes from the Upanishad a passage which convey an idea of Akasa as the Primal Element from which the others were evolved.

"From the Atman (the Universal Soul or Brahma) arose Akasa, from the Akasa the wind (Air); from the wind, fire; from fire, water; from water, earth. When this earth shall pass away, the reverse order of changes will take place: earth to water; water to fire; fire to air; air to Akasa; Akasa to Brahman." [32]

The Process of Transmutation.

As we have said, there were two kinds of Alchemy: Exoteric Alchemy, and Esoteric Alchemy. The Exoteric Alchemy was aimed to produce silver and gold from base metals such as tin and lead. The Esoteric Alchemy was aimed to transmute the Human Soul into the Divine Spirit to re-form the Androgenous Primordial Godhead. These two Alchemies were intimately entwined: The Esoteric Alchemy often was described under the disguise of the Exoteric one.

Anyhow, in our study, Exoteric Alchemy is of no concern. Nevertheless, we acknowledge some of its spectacular accomplishments, which were commemorated by medallions, among them:

The medal struck from alchemical gold before His Serene Highness Charles Philip, Count Palatine of the Rhineland on December, 31, 1716. [33]

The Medallion struck in commemoration of transmutation performed in the presence of Emperor Leopold I (The Alchemic Gold had the specific gravity of 12. 67, while the natural gold has the specific gravity 19.3. (1675) (gold obtained from tin by Wenzel Seyler). [34]

Ducats in 1644, 1646, 1647 were coined by the King Christian IV of Denmark, to commemorate the transmutation done by Kasper Harbach. [35]

A medal struck by the King Charles XII of Sweden in 1705 to commemorate the transmutation of gold from lead by O. A. Von Paykhull. [36]

Medals with the inscriptions: Aurum Arte Factum, struck by the Master of the Lyons Mint, and deposited in the Museum of Versailles, to commemorate the gold obtained by Delisle from iron. [37]

Medal struck by the Emperor Ferdinand III, in January 1648, in commemoration of the transmutation of mercury into gold done by Richthausen. [38]

Medal struck in 1660, with the inscription: Aures progenies plumbo prognata parente (a golden daughter born of a leaden parent), on the occasion of the transmutation done by the Emperor Ferdinand III himself, with some of Richthausen powder. [39]

We can find, now, a specimen described as alchemical gold from the Department of Coins and Medals, in the British Museum.

In spite of these facts, we still opt for the Esoteric Alchemy. We maintain that, at least, for many Alchemists, "Alchemy was concerned with man's soul, its object was the perfection, not of material substances, but of man in a spiritual sense. Those who hold this view, identify Alchemy with, or at least regard it as a branch of Mysticism, from which it is supposed to differ merely by the employment of a special language; and they hold that the writings of the Alchemists must not be understood literally as dealing with chemical operations, with furnaces, retorts, alembics, pelicans and the like, with salt, sulfur, mercury, gold, and other material substances, but must be understood as grand allegories dealing with spiritual truths.

"According to this view, the figure of the transmutation of the "base" metals into gold, symbolized the salvation of man - the transmutation of his soul into spiritual gold - which was to be obtained by the elimination of evil and the development of good by the grace of God, and the realization of which salvation or spiritual transmutation may be described as the New Birth, or that condition of being known as union with the Divine." [40]

In other words, "the genuine Alchemists were not in pursuit of worldly wealth or honors. Their real object was the perfection or, at least, the improvement of man." [41]

"When the individual man, by a natural and appropriate process, devoid of haste and violence, is brought into unity with himself by the harmonious action of intelligence and will, he is on the threshold of comprehending that transcendent Unity which is the perfection of the totality of Nature, for what is called the "absolute", "the absolute perfection", and the "perfection of Nature" are one and the same." [42]

Religiously speaking, Alchemy aims toward the union of the Soul with God or with the Spirit of God.

Philosophically speaking, Alchemy aims toward the Reintegration of Polarity: Positive and Negative, Soul and Spirit to effect the Coincidentia Oppositorum (the coincidence of opposites), to return to a primordial state of non-differentiation, to transcend the phenomenal world, to transcend the opposites (the world of relativity), to reconquer the completeness that precedes all creations, to arrest the process of manifestation, the process of disintegration, to proceed against the current of phenomenal productivity and, once again, to find the primordial motionless Unity.

Symbolically speaking, Alchemy aims toward the conjugation of the King (Spirit) and the Queen (Soul), described as the conjugal union or as a hierosgamos.

Alchemically speaking, Alchemy aimed at conjugating the Son and the Moon (Spirit and Soul) into Mercury (the Androgyne Godhead); at transmuting Lead (the human Soul) into pure Gold (The Divine Spirit) through the power of the Philosophers' Stone (The Divine presence within man).

Mercurius as "uniting symbol"

Put in plain words, Alchemy aimed at the DIVINATION OF MAN which was considered as the mortal sin of blasphemy, and a possible sentence of capital punishment by the medieval Church. We understand now why the medieval Alchemists should use an extravagant language, to protect themselves and to mislead Inquisitors, and unworthy men.

When we present Alchemy as such, we will find similarity of views between East and West. We read in Mircea Eliade, Yoga, Immortality and Freedom, "Now, the ideal of the Buddhist Tantrika is to transform himself into a "Being of Diamond" - in which, on the one hand, he is at one with the ideal of the Indian Alchemist, and on the other hand, renews the famous equation Atman = Brahman. For Tantric metaphysics, both Hindu and Buddhist, the Absolute Reality, the Urgrund, contains in itself all dualities and polarities, but reunited, reintegrated, in a state of absolute Unity (Advaya). The creation, and the becoming that arose from it, represent the shattering of the Primordial Unity and the separation of the two principles (Siva-Sakti etc..)- in consequence, man experiences a state of duality (object-subject, etc.)- and this is suffering, illusion, "bondage". The purpose of tantric sadhana is the reunion of the polar principles within the disciple's own body." [43]

As we have known, Alchemy endeavors to search for the Philosopher's Stone. We have shown that the Philosopher's Stone is equated to God, to the Prima Materia and to the Quintessence. We have demonstrated that the Stone, the Quintessence, the Prima Materia or God is all-pervasive. It is then logical to say that the best way to find the Stone, or God, is to find it or Him in our self.

This is, also, in accordance with the Monistic doctrine of the identity of opposites that the "noblest and most precious" is hidden precisely in the "basest and most common". The Alchemists of the West did exactly the same when they affirmed that the materia prima, identical with the lapis philosophorum, was present everywhere and under the basest form, vili figura. [44]

The Centrum Naturae Concentratum, ascribed to Alipili declares that "The highest wisdom consists in this, for man to know himself, because in him, God has placed his eternal word, by which all things were made and upheld, to be his Light and Life, by which he is capable of knowing all things, in time and eternity... Therefore, let the high inquirers and searchers into the deep mysteries of nature, learn first what they have in themselves, before they seek in foreign matters without them, and by the divine power within them let them first heal themselves and transmute their own souls; then they may go on prosperously and seek with good success the mysteries and wonders of God in all natural things. [45] 

The feeling of the Presence of God within us is the prerequisite condition for the transmutation of our Soul - transmutation from its human condition to its ultimate Divine condition. Without this direct Divine touch, no human soul - as base as Lead - can ever be transmuted into the Divine Spirit - the true and perfect Gold. That is why the presence of God in the adept is considered as the Philosophers' Stone...

To suggest the concept of "the Godhead within", the English poet Robert Browing, wrote a classically beautiful and instructive passage in which Paracelsus, a seeker of truth, and an medial alchemist (1493-1591), says:

Truth is within our self; it takes no rise

From outward things, whatever you may believe.

There is an inmost Center in us all,

Where truth abides in fullness; and around

Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,

This perfect, clear perception - which is truth.

A baffling and perverting carnal mesh

Binds it, and makes all error: and TO KNOW,

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,

Than in effecting entry for light

Supposed to be without. [46]

 In sum, the immanent at the same time transcendental God - The Philosopher's Stone - is sought by many and found by few. It is beheld from afar and found near; for it exists in everything, in every place, and at all times. It has the powers of all creatures; its action is found in all elements, and the qualities of all things are therein even in the highest perfection... it heals all dead and living bodies without other medicine... converts all metallic bodies into gold, and there is nothing like unto it under Heaven. [47]

Hitchkock assimilated the Philosopher's Stone, "the mystical and mysterious instrument of preparation in the work of Alchemy, with THE HUMAN CONSCIENCE. By means of this instrument, quickened into vital activity under a sense of the presence of God, the matter of the Stone, namely, Man, is in the first place, purged and purified, to make possible the internal realization of Truth." [48]

By their profession of the "God within", the medieval alchemists joined all the mystics East and West.

In the Imitation of Jesus Christ, chapter VI, verse 4, we read: "Always having God within oneself, and not being attached to anything external, is the state of the INTERIOR MAN."

St Teresa of Avila said: "It is a great grace from God, when he helps us find Him in our self." [49]

"Ascend to God, said Albertus Magnus, is enter in our self. Who enters in oneself and penetrates to the innermost of his soul, transcends himself and truly attains God." [50]

Having thus found the true Lapis Philosophorum - the God within - the Spiritual Alchemy begins to make sense...

Instead of laboratories and complex apparatus as required by the Exoteric Alchemy, the VESSEL, the only Vessel, the VAS INSIGNE ELECTIONIS, required by the Spiritual Alchemy, is MAN himself. The Alchemist considers Man as the only "all-containing subject, to be investigated for the eventual discovery of all. The modern adepts describe the life of man as a pure, naked, and unmingled Fire of illimitable capability. Man, therefore, is the true laboratory of the hermetic art; his life is the subject, the grand distillery, the thing distilling, and the thing distilled; and self-knowledge is at the root of all alchemical tradition". [51]

As for the ingredients used for the transmutation of based metals into gold, the exoteric alchemist resorted not only to "specimens of all metals then known, but also to pyrite, malachite, lapis-lazuli, gypsum, haematite, turquoise, galena, stibnite, alun, green vitriol, natron, borax, common salt, lime, potash, cinnabar, white lead, red lead, litharge, ferric oxide, verdigris, vinegar, and perhaps caustic soda and glycerol, sulfuric and nitric acid..." [52]

The ingredients used by the Spiritual Alchemists are much simpler: the ingredients are even found as existing already in the living Athanor, namely the Human Body: these are the Soul and the Spirit interacting between one another in the presence of the Divine Catalyst, the Philosopher's Stone, namely the Godhead itself.

According to Atalanta Fugies, Father Time is also an important ingredient. [53]

Besides, in the first page of Lully's Hermes Bird, the author gives us 10 conditions of success: Conyng (Effort), experience (Experience), pracktike (Practice), prudent (Prudence), pacience (Patience), gras (Grace), nature (Nature), reson (Reason), speculative (Speculation), holi lifing (Holy Life). [54]

More and more, we are convinced that the true aim of all the true Alchemists was to show us the Mystical Way of Life, using Alchemical language and symbols.

We had already the Lapis Philosophorum, the Athanor, and all the ingredients required for the Magnum Opus (Great Work); now we should learn how to proceed.

The exoteric alchemists spoke lengthily about the processes. According to some, there are seven processes, namely: Calcination, Sublimation, Solution, Putrefaction, Distillation, Coagulation, and Tincture. To others, there are 12 steps in the Great Work, corresponding to the 12 signs of the Zodiac: (See Dictionaire Mytho-Hermetique) 

1.         Calcination    Aries, the Ram.

2.         Congelation  Taurus, the Bull.

3.         Fixation          Gemini, the Twins

4.         Dissolution    Cancer, the Crab

5.         Digestion       Leo, the Lion

6.         Distillation     Virgo, the Virgin

7.         Sublimation   Libra, the Scales

8.         Separation     Scorpio, the Scorpion

9.         Incineration   Sagittarius, the Sagittarius

10.       Fermentation Capricorn, the Goat

11.       Multiplication Aquarius, the Water-Carrier

12.       Projection      Pisces, The Fishes


Some gave us the ladder of the planets as follows:

We prefer this order:

Using the ladder of planets so conceived, we can explain very easily the main steps of the Great Work:

If we know that the Cross in these symbols represent the Cross of the Elements, we can say that in this natural state before the beginning of the Great Work, the Soul is immersed in the phenomenal world, in the world of bodily sensations, in the world of corruption and the world of transiency . It should know how to disentangle itself from the magnetic attraction of the world of opposites, from its earthy desires for wealth and honors, and thus follows the advice of the Gospel: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal" (Mat. 6. 19). More and more, it should know how to dominate the world of sensations and of appearances, how to use the material world, at the same time is detached from its influence. The progressive liberation of the soul from its bondage until its last freedom is depicted by these symbols: 

As for the Spirit, it also must free itself from the bondage of the body and of the external world. Instead of being dispersed in menial earthly activities, the Spirit must concentrate itself to recover its divine status:

The human Soul, and the Divine Spirit, after being so purified and so concentrated, can be now joined themselves and merge into the Ultimate Godhead. This final state is represented by Mercury, the Androgyne Deity:

Thus the soul not only must die to the external world, but also die to itself, to be transformed into the Primeval Godhead. This is the consummation of the Great Work that the Kabbalists called as Kether. The Soul, then has accomplished the long journey from the circumference of the world of changes, of opposites, and of corruption, to rejoin the Eternal Center, where God resides in all his essential glory...

In so doing, the SOLVE and COAGULA slogan is realized: First the soul must be dissolved to be freed from all earthly impurities and afterward, the Soul and the Spirit must be combined to form a living Lapis Philosophorum. In so doing, not only the Divine Spirit, the Spiritual Gold can be obtained from the Human Soul, the Human Lead, but also the ultimate status of the Androgyne Godhead can be realized, which state is depicted as Mercury, the Androgyne Hermes-Trismegistus: (hinh 34)

Hitchcock and Arthur Edward Waite commented on these steps of Alchemy as those of spiritual Regeneration. "This gift of God, the Alchemists investigated as a work of Nature within Nature. The repentance which in religion is said to begin conversion, is the 'philosophical contrition' of hermetic allegory. It is the first step of man towards the discovery of his whole being. They also called it the black state of the matter, in which was carried on the work of dissolution, calcination, separation, etc, after which results purification, the white state, which contains the red, as the black contained the white. The evolution of the glorious and radiant red state resulted in the fixation or perfection of the matter, and then, the soul was supposed to have entered into its true rest in God."


If we study Alchemy as the Art of changing Lead or other base metals into Gold, we will be lost in the labyrinth of symbols, of apparatuses, and of extravagant processes. We can lose our fortune easily, and we will live a very hard life. As for the result, it will be as chimerical as if we catch the moon in the water. But if we consider Alchemy as a guide in our quest for the inner God, and in our endeavor to perfect our self, to live a mystical, holy life, a resplendent life resulting from the union of our Soul with the Immanent God, everything become crystal-clear, natural and within our scope and range.

It is, then, natural to see that the author of the "Suggestive Inquiry" exalted the seekers of the Philosophical Stone into the hierophants of the mystery of God, and endowed them with the altitudo divitiarum sapientiae et scientiae Dei (the height of the divine wisdom and sciences). According to this author, the alchemists had crossed the threshold of eternity; they had solved the absolute; they had seen Diana unveiled; they had raised the cincture of Isis, and had devoured her supernatural beauty- that is, they had accomplished the manifestation of the incarnate spirit of man, and had invested it with deific glory. They did not grope after physical secrets; they did not investigate, with Paracelsus, the property of ordure and other matter in putrefaction; they did not work with mercury and sulfur; they did not distill wine; they did not decoct egg-shells. They were Soul seekers, and they had found the Soul; they were artificers, and they adorned the Soul; they were Alchemists, and had transmuted It. [55]

This is indeed a sublime view on Alchemy.

[1] Mary Sworder, Trans., Fulcanelli: Master Alchemist, Brotherhood of Life, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984, p. 21.

[2] E. J. Holmyard, Alchemy, Penguin books, 1969, p. 96.

[3] Titus Burckhardt, Alchemy, Penguin Books, 1974, p. 197.

[4] Ibidem, p. 201.

[5] Ibidem, p. 201.

[6] Ibidem, p. 200.

[7] Ibidem, p. 200.

[8] Ibidem, p. 201.

[9] C. A. Burland, The Art of the Alchemists, Macmillan, New York, 1968, p. 172.

[10] Ibidem, pp. 172-173.

[11] E. J. Holmyard, Alchemy, Penguin Books, 1968, p. 223.

[12] Herbert Silberer, Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Art, Dover Publications, Inc. New York, 1971, p. 155.

[13] Ibidem, p. 155.

[14] Ibidem, p. 177-178.

[15] Ibidem, p. 178.

[16] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists Through The Ages, Rudolf Steiner Publications, 151 North Moison Road, Blauvelt, New York 10913, 1970, p. 11.

[17] Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, The Philosophical Research Society, Inc. Los Angeles, 90027, p. 155.

[18] Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, p. 773.

[19] H. Stanley Redgrove, Alchemy Ancient and Modern, p. 15.

[20] Ibidem, pp. 14-15.

[21] Jack Linsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman-Egypt, Barnes and Noble, Inc. N.Y. 1970, p. 2.

[22] Jack Linsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman-Egypt, Barnes and Noble, Inc. N.Y. 1970, p. 2.

[23] E. J. Holmyard, Alchemy, Penguin Books, 1968, p. 21-22.

[24] C. A. Burland, The Arts of Alchemy, The MacMillan Co, New York, 1968, p. 159.

[25] Isaac Asimov, Inside the Atom, Abelard Schuman, 1966, pp. 114-115.

[26] Isaac Azimov, Inside the Atom, Abelard-Shuman, 1966, pp, 89-90.

[27] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists through the Ages, Rudolf Steiner Publications, New York, 1970.

[28] Herbert Silberer, Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts, Dover Publications, Inc., New York,pp. 123-124.

[29] A.C. Burland, The Arts of the Alchemists, Yhe Macmillan Company, New York, p. 184.

[30] Arthur Edward Waite ed., The Works of Thomas Vaughan, University Books, New Hyde Park, New York, 1968, p. 230.

[31] Titus Burckhard, Alchemy, Penguin Books Inc., p. 96.

[32] John Maxon Stillman, The Story of Alchemy and Early Chemistry, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1960, p. 110. -- Deussen, P., Allgemeine Geschichte der Philosophie, Leipzig, 1906-1920, 2 volumes in 1 & 3, p. 597.

[33] C.A. Burland, The Art of the Alchemists, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1968, plate on the page opposite to p. 201.

[34] Reinhard Federmann, The Royal Art of Alchemy, Chilton Book Co, Philadelphia-New York-London, 1949, plate in pages between 152 and 153.

[35] E. J. Holmyard, Alchemy, Penguin Books, 1966. p. 128.

[36] Ibidem, p. 133.

[37] Ibidem, p. 133.

[38] Ibidem, 129.

[39] Ibidem, 129.

[40] H. Stanley Redgrove, Alchemy, Ancient and Modern, University Books Inc. New Hyde Park, N. Y. 11040, 1969, p. 2-3.

[41] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists Through The Ages, Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1970, pp. 10-11.

[42] Ibidem, 11.

[43] Mircea Eliade, Yoga, Immortality and Freedom, Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1969, p. 206.

[44] Ibidem, p. 261, note 204.

[45] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists Through The Ages, Rudolf Steiner Publications, 151 North Moison Road, Blauvelt, New York 10913, U.S.A. 1970, p. 22.

[46] Edgar Cayce, Reflections on the Path, Herbert B. Puryear, Ph.D. Bantam Books, 1986, p. 15.

[47] H. Stanley Redgrove, Alchemy Ancient and Modern,University Books Inc., New Hyde Park, New York, N.Y. 11040, 1969, p. 31-32.

[48] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists through the Ages,Rudolf Steiner Publications, New York, 1970, p. 12.

[49] Illan de Casa Fuerte, La Religion Essentielle, p. 130.

[50] Ibidem, p. 183.

[51] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists through the Ages, Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1970, p, 14.

[52] E. J. Holmyard, Alchemy, p. 9.

[53] Lapidus, In Pursuit of Gold, New York, Samuel Weiser, 1976, Illustration 19, between pages 96-97.

[54] C. A. Burland, The Arts of the Alchemists, The Macmillan Co, New York, 1967, p. opposite to page 168.

[55] Arthur Edward Waite, Alchemists through the Ages, Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1970, p. 34-35.

TOC | Preface | Chapters: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19