View Full Version : The Magnum Opus

solomon levi
07-01-2010, 03:23 PM
The Magnum Opus is known as the Great Work, the Path of the Philosophers' Stone. But, as usual with alchemists and cabalists,
the words reveal much more than their interpretation crudum.

magnum - great

magna mater - great mother; goddess of fertility

agnes - pure, chaste, holy

agnus - lamb (consider all the offshoots of this one - ram, aries, christ...)

magnes - "lodestone," from Gk. ho Magnes lithos "the Magnesian stone," from Magnesia, region in Thessaly where magnetized ore was obtained. Spread from Latin to most W. European languages (cf. Ger., Dan. magnet, Du. magneet, It., Sp., Port. magnete), but superseded in Fr. by aimant.

magnesia - late 14c., in alchemy, "main ingredient of the philosopher's stone," from M.L. magnesia, from Gk. (he) Magnesia (lithos) "the lodestone," lit. "(the) Magnesian (stone)," from Magnesia, region in Thessaly.

magnesium - 1808 (Humphry Davy), from magnesia.

magnum - 1788, "bottle containing two quarts of wine or spirits," from L. magnum, neut. of magnus "great"

opus - 1809, "a work, composition," esp. a musical one," from L. opus "a work, labor, exertion" (cf. It. opera, Fr. oeuvre, Sp. obra), from PIE base *op- (Gmc. *ob-) "to work, produce in abundance," originally of agriculture later extended to religious acts

opulence - c.1510, from M.Fr. opulence, from L. opulentia, from opulentus "wealthy," dissimilated from *op-en-ent-, related to ops "wealth, power, resources," opus "work, labor, exertion,"

opal - 1590s, from Fr. opalle, from L. opalus (Pliny), supposedly from Gk. opallios, possibly ultimately from Skt. upala-s "gem, precious stone."

opaque - early 15c., opake, from L. opacus "shaded, shady, dark," of unknown origin.

Ophir - name of a place mentioned in O.T. as a source for fine gold, location still unknown. Hence Ophir-gold (1614).

ophidian - "pertaining to snakes," 1883, from Gk. ophidion, dim. of ophis "serpent," of unknown origin.

source: http://www.etymonline.com/