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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Alchemy

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Alchemy

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by Dennis William Hauck

Publisher: Marie Butler-Knight
Editorial Director: Mike Sanders
Senior Managing Editor: Billy Fields
Executive Editor: Randy Ladenheim-Gil
Development Editor: Lynn Northrup
Production Editor: Kayla Dugger
Copy Editor: Nancy Wagner


Cartoonist: Steve Barr
Book Designer: Trina Wurst
Indexer: Johnna Vanhoose Dinse
Layout: Ayanna Lacey
Proofreader: Aaron Black


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Book Details
 Price
 3.00
 Pages
 333 p
 File Size 
 2,966 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 1-4362-3083-7
 Copyright©   
 2008 by Dennis William Hauck 

How This Book Is Organized
This book is divided into six sections:
Part 1, “Introduction to Alchemy,” traces the roots of alchemy into the distant past
and shows how the discipline developed from the mythic writings of godlike beings
into the practical treatises of the Alexandrian alchemists. From alchemy’s origins in
ancient Egypt to the founding of the Great Library, the basic tenets of alchemy were
well developed long before the heyday of the medieval alchemists.
Part 2, “The Principles of Alchemy,” takes a look at the fundamental concepts of
alchemy and traces their development in the Hermetic arts, philosophy, religion, psychology,
and other traditions down through the last 5,000 years. We’ll also decipher
the coded language the alchemists used to describe their work to other alchemists.
Part 3, “The Operations of Alchemy,” reveals the secret processes alchemists used
to transform substances in their work. These fundamental operations worked not only
in the practical work in the lab but also on the mental and spiritual levels.
Part 4, “Practical Alchemy,” focuses on what went on in the alchemist’s workshop.
We learn exactly how the alchemists made their tonics, tinctures, and elixirs and how
they worked with the metals to transform lead into gold.
Part 5, “Spiritual Alchemy,” looks within to see how alchemical principles work to
transform the hidden essences of soul into the pure light of spirit. We also investigate
the mysterious connection between the spiritual work and the success of alchemical experiments.
Part 6, “Modern Alchemy,” looks at alchemy in the world today. We discover how
alchemical principles are being applied in our everyday life in the workplace, in personal
relationships, and in society in general. We also investigate the amazing similarities
between the concepts of alchemists and those of modern scientists.
You’ll also find two helpful appendixes: a list of resources that includes recommended
books, alchemy websites and organizations, and sources for herbs and laboratory
supplies; and a glossary of words and terms used 
by alchemists to help in your understanding of alchemy.

Introduction
My initiation into alchemy came while I was attending the University of Vienna. I had
gone there to study mathematics in the tradition of the Viennese logician Kurt Godel.
However, within three months of my arrival, I was sidetracked into studying a much
older tradition.
Four hundred years earlier, Vienna and nearby Prague were at the heart of European
alchemy, and hundreds of alchemists flocked to the area to study. I was unaware of
Vienna’s rich alchemical tradition until one day when I stumbled into a basement
room in the university library that was full of old alchemy books.
The German and Latin manuscripts were in antique typesetting that was very difficult
to read, but the drawings in those books were strangely profound and resonated
deeply with me in ways I could not put into words. All I knew was that whatever was
going on in those drawings was more real than anything that was going on in my life
at the time, and I wanted to be part of it.
I resolved to learn as much as I could about alchemy and began translating the old
manuscripts I found in Vienna and Prague. My research led me to even larger collections
of alchemy books in Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. Finally, an Italian
friend directed me to Merus Favilla, a practicing alchemist living in Prague who occasionally
took on new students.
After some painstaking negotiations, Merus agreed to take me as a student. Every
Wednesday for over a year, I took the train from Vienna to Prague to be initiated
into the mysteries of the ancient craft. The cost of my weekly tuition was a carton of
Camel cigarettes for my master and a box of Mozart Balls (chocolates) for his wife.
I learned much during my strange apprenticeship in Prague—mostly about the hidden
signatures and correspondences of things. But the most important thing I learned
was that the real trick to grasping alchemy was making it come alive within me. As the
German alchemist Gerhardt Dorn once put it: “You must transmute yourselves from
dead stones into living Philosophical Stones.”
Unlike academic disciplines, alchemy can actually take root in you and grow into
something that is more than the sum of its parts. This is when the true secret teachings
of alchemy begin and when the magic happens. There is some sort of energetic
connection to the principles of alchemy that is very empowering. True alchemists
know exactly what I am talking about, and I hope you will, too, by the time you are
done with this book.
The objective of this book is to teach you the alchemists’ coded language so you can
appreciate and work with the ancient wisdom they have passed down to us. For my
part, I promise to be honest and direct, with no unnecessary secrecy, no pompous
theorizing, and no special allegiance to any particular tradition or organization. My
focus in this book is to help you understand the principles of alchemy and apply them
in practical ways in the modern world.
So let your apprenticeship begin with this book. All you have to do is assume the role
of a “complete idiot” and become an empty vessel. Forget everything you thought
you knew about alchemy and alchemists. You are now at the beginning of a new path
toward enlightenment. And don’t worry—you have everything you need hidden away
inside you. Just come as you are.


Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction to Alchemy 1
1 Your Apprenticeship in Alchemy 3
Why Study Alchemy?......................................................................4
The Kinds of Alchemy....................................................................5
Spiritual Alchemy..........................................................................5
Psychological Alchemy....................................................................6
Artistic Alchemy............................................................................6
Social Alchemy...............................................................................6
Practical Alchemy..........................................................................7
Therapeutic Alchemy.....................................................................7
The Perennial Philosophy..............................................................8
Becoming an Alchemist...................................................................9
2 The First Alchemists 13
Lost Gems of Knowledge.............................................................14
The Gods of Alchemy...................................................................14
Thoth: The Father of Alchemy....................................................16
The Pillars of Hermes...................................................................16
The Emerald Tablet......................................................................17
The Treasures of Alexander..........................................................18
The Fate of the Emerald Tablet....................................................19
The Legend of Thoth/Hermes....................................................20
The Staff of Hermes....................................................................21
Hermetic Philosophy.....................................................................22
3 The Land of Khem 25
Secrets of Priests and Craftsmen..................................................26
Alexandria: Center of Ancient Alchemy.......................................26
Greek Philosophy and Alchemy.....................................................29
The Concept of Transmutation.....................................................30
Destruction of the Alexandrian Texts...........................................31
The Growth of Alchemy in Asia..................................................32
How the Arabs Saved Alchemy.....................................................34
Arabian Alchemy.........................................................................35
The Gibberish of Jabir.................................................................37
4 Medieval Alchemy and the Quest for Gold 41
The Beginning of European Alchemy..........................................42
The Wizardry of Roger Bacon.....................................................43
Alchemy and the Church..............................................................45
Medieval and Renaissance Alchemy.............................................47
Nicolas Flamel’s Powder of Projection...........................................47
Isaac Newton and the Black Dragon.............................................50
The Puffers....................................................................................52
The Rise of Chemistry..................................................................54
Part 2: The Principles of Alchemy 57
5 The Secret Language of Alchemists 59
The Language of the Birds...........................................................60
The Birds of Alchemy...................................................................60
Animal Symbolism in Alchemy.....................................................62
The Lions of Alchemy..................................................................63
The Dragons of Alchemy..............................................................64
Silent Secrets of the Rose.............................................................65
Ciphers of the Alchemists.............................................................67
Ciphers for the Elements..............................................................69
Ciphers for the Three Essentials...................................................70
6 The Elusive First Matter 73
What Is the First Matter?.............................................................74
Properties of the First Matter.......................................................76
The First Matter Is Eternal.........................................................76
The First Matter Is Everywhere to Be Found...............................76
The First Matter Is Cyclic............................................................76
The First Matter Contains All the Elements................................77
The First Matter Is the Source of the Philosopher’s Stone..............77
Working with the First Matter.....................................................77
7 The Four Elements 81
The Concept of the Elements......................................................82
The Four Humors.........................................................................84
Balancing the Elements.................................................................86
The Quintessence..........................................................................89
Philosophers of Fire......................................................................90
Elementary Fire..........................................................................90
Celestial Fire...............................................................................91
Central Fire................................................................................91
Secret Fire...................................................................................91
8 The Three Essentials 93
Three Children of the First Matter..............................................94
The Two Contraries......................................................................95
Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt..............................................................96
The Dance of Sulfur and Mercury...............................................98
The Three Essentials in People..................................................100
The Three Treasures of Taoist Alchemy....................................101
9 The Philosopher’s Stone 103
The Magical Touchstone............................................................104
What the Philosopher’s Stone Looked Like..............................105
Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone......................................106
The Mysterious Dr. Dee.............................................................107
The Hieroglyphic Monad...........................................................108
The Cipher of the Stone.............................................................109
The Lost Key to the Monad........................................................111
Part 3: The Operations of Alchemy 113
10 The Ladder of the Planets 115
Correspondences of the Planets.................................................116
The Dark Powers of Saturn........................................................118
The Exuberant Powers of Jupiter...............................................120
The Masculine Powers of Mars..................................................121
The Feminine Powers of Venus.................................................121
The Transformative Powers of Mercury....................................123
The Soulful Powers of the Moon...............................................123
The Spiritual Powers of the Sun................................................124
The Music of the Spheres...........................................................125
11 The Black Phase 127
The Blackening...........................................................................128
The Calcination Process.............................................................129
Personal Calcination...................................................................131
The Process of Dissolution.........................................................133
Personal Dissolution...................................................................134
12 The White Phase 139
The Whitening............................................................................140
The Separation Process...............................................................141
Personal Separation.....................................................................142
The Conjunction Process...........................................................143
Personal Conjunction..................................................................144
13 The Red Phase 149
The Peacock’s Tail.......................................................................150
The Reddening............................................................................151
The Fermentation Process..........................................................152
Personal Fermentation................................................................154
The Distillation Process..............................................................155
Personal Distillation....................................................................157
The Coagulation Process............................................................158
Personal Coagulation..................................................................159
Part 4: Practical Alchemy 161
14 Inside an Alchemist’s Laboratory 163
A Tour of a Medieval Laboratory...............................................164
The Athanor................................................................................165
Alchemical Glassware..................................................................166
The Chemicals Used by Alchemists...........................................167
Vitriol.......................................................................................168
Natron......................................................................................168
Liquor Hepatis..........................................................................169
Pulvis Solaris.............................................................................169
Hidden Energies in the Lab.......................................................170
The Oratorium............................................................................171
Alchemists and Chemists............................................................173
Women in Alchemy.....................................................................174
15 The Spagyric Process 175
The Doctrine of Signatures........................................................176
Types of Medicines......................................................................176
Allopathic Medicine...................................................................177
Homeopathic Medicine...............................................................177
Spagyric Medicine......................................................................177
The Planetary Signatures............................................................178
The Star in Plants.......................................................................179
The Three Essentials in Plants...................................................180
Planetary Influences in Spagyrics...............................................181
Planetary Hours..........................................................................181
Paracelsus the Great....................................................................182
16 The Kitchen Alchemist 185
Setting Up Your Kitchen Lab.....................................................186
Making Alchemical Compounds.................................................187
Making Tinctures........................................................................188
Making Elixirs.............................................................................191
17 Working with the Planetary Metals 195
Saturn’s Metal: Lead....................................................................196
Lead and Silver.........................................................................197
Saturn Signatures in Lead.........................................................197
Lead Poisoning..........................................................................198
The Hidden Promise of Lead......................................................199
Jupiter’s Metal: Tin.....................................................................199
Jupiter Signatures in Tin..........................................................200
The Tin Plague.........................................................................200
Mars’s Metal: Iron.......................................................................200
Iron’s Love for Carbon...............................................................201
Mars Signatures in Iron............................................................202
Venus’s Metal: Copper................................................................203
Venus Signatures in Copper........................................................203
The Love Affairs of Copper........................................................204
Mercury’s Metal: Quicksilver......................................................205
Mercury Signatures in Quicksilver.............................................206
The Dual Nature of Mercury.....................................................207
The Moon’s Metal: Silver...........................................................208
Lunar Signatures in Silver........................................................209
The Moon’s Influence Over Silver..............................................209
The Sun’s Metal: Gold................................................................209
Solar Signatures in Gold............................................................210
The Sun’s Influence Over Gold..................................................211
Part 5: Spiritual Alchemy 213
18 Mental Alchemy 215
The Salted Personality................................................................216
The First Matter in People.........................................................217
The Four Elements in People....................................................218
The Planets in People.................................................................219
Jung and Alchemy.......................................................................220
The Black Phase of Mental Alchemy.........................................222
The White Phase of Mental Alchemy........................................222
The Red Phase of Mental Alchemy............................................224
19 Alchemy of the Soul 225
The Dragons of Spiritual Alchemy............................................226
The True Imagination.................................................................227
Alchemical Meditation................................................................228
The Azoth of the Philosophers...................................................229
The Operations of the Azoth......................................................231
The Ray of Saturn.....................................................................231
The Ray of Jupiter.....................................................................232
The Ray of Mars........................................................................232
The Ray of the Sun....................................................................233
The Ray of Venus.......................................................................233
The Ray of Mercury...................................................................233
The Ray of the Moon.................................................................233
20 The Sacred Marriage 235
The Sacred Marriage in You.......................................................236
The Inner Marriage....................................................................236
Birth of the Philosopher’s Stone.................................................237
The Sacred Marriage in Christian Alchemy..............................239
The Three Marriages in Alchemy..............................................240
The Sacred Marriage in Psychology..........................................240
Part 6: Modern Alchemy 243
21 Alchemy and Medicine 245
The Life Force............................................................................245
Paracelsian Medicine...................................................................246
Healing with the Metals..............................................................248
Healing with Lead.....................................................................249
Healing with Tin.......................................................................249
Healing with Iron......................................................................250
Healing with Copper..................................................................250
Healing with Mercury...............................................................252
Healing with Silver...................................................................254
Healing with Gold.....................................................................255
22 Social Alchemy 259
The Alchemy of Relationships....................................................260
Calcination in Relationships.......................................................260
Dissolution in Relationships........................................................261
Fermentation in Relationships....................................................261
Distillation in Relationships........................................................262
Coagulation in Relationships......................................................262
The Relationship Laboratory......................................................263
Alchemy in the Workplace..........................................................264
Calcination in the Workplace......................................................265
Dissolution in the Workplace......................................................265
Separation in the Workplace.......................................................266
Conjunction in the Workplace.....................................................266
Fermentation in the Workplace..................................................267
Distillation in the Workplace......................................................268
Coagulation in the Workplace.....................................................269
Transforming the Workplace......................................................270
Wealth: The First Matter in Society..........................................271
23 The Science of Magic 275
The Science of the Future..........................................................276
The Mystical Nature of Light....................................................277
Early Theories of Light..............................................................277
The Alchemical Rebis.................................................................278
Quantum Alchemy......................................................................280
Twentieth-Century Alchemists of Science.................................281
Albert Einstein (1879–1955).....................................................282
Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976)...............................................282
Barbara McLintock (1902–1992)..............................................283
David Bohm (1917–1992)........................................................283
Wolfgang Pauli (1900–1958)....................................................284
The Philosopher’s Stone of Physics............................................285
The Projection of Consciousness...............................................286
The Alchemy of Evolution.........................................................287
Appendixes
A Resources 289
B Glossary 295
Index 301

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A Note About Style
Following the style of the alchemists, major philosophical concepts are capitalized
to differentiate them from more mundane meanings. For example, “sulfur” refers to
the flammable yellow chemical also known as brimstone, while “Sulfur” refers to the
underlying principle of fire, passion, and energy that the alchemists associated with
that substance. Similarly, the terms “Above” and “Below” are philosophical concepts
related to our ideas of heaven and Earth.

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