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Thread: General Comments on Alchemical Texts

  1. #31
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    So upon closer inspection, I noticed that the link I posted above to the 1718 Barchusen text is missing the page with the first 5 plates.. you can see a blank page with the imprints, but the page itself is gone. Odd! I found the first 5 here:

    http://www.massimomarra.net/1066/J-C...ma-Tavole-1-25

    But it seems that people that have made their own version of these plates now start with plate 6, the Ancient Chaos. Seems they've cut off the last two plates as well and trimmed a couple throughout.. thanks for directing me towards the original, I think I am beginning to understand your view

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rheomode View Post
    . . . nor does it have the three tufts on the tail. . . .
    The three "tufts on the tail" is significant from my understanding. It refers to me of the three fires, namely, solar, vulcanic/terrestrial, and astral (Axiokersa), if you want further information on this particular aspect of Plate 14, Moreh of Inner Garden Research Group writes about it on their website http://www.innergarden.org/en/article4.html, I mean about the 'elements'.

    Take a look at the tail of the Green Lion (Plate 14), then compare the "fires" and their positioning with that of the tufts? Do you see a pattern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rheomode View Post
    Really interesting, all the slight variations between these plates.
    In terms of laboratory work, the Barchusen Series rings closes to detailing the path. There's one Plate, I believe, no.16 that speaks plenty about the type of athanor, well, more like heating that's required; it's missing from McLean's.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rheomode View Post
    So upon closer inspection, I noticed that the link I posted above to the 1718 Barchusen text is missing the page with the first 5. . . .
    Those early Plates appear to refer to 'preparatory' states, probably both inner and outer.

    Plate 10 is quite lovely, a mind that can express thoughts and actions in such a simple artistic manner should be called Magus.

  4. #34
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    Take a look at the tail of the Green Lion (Plate 14), then compare the "fires" and their positioning with that of the tufts? Do you see a pattern?
    I think so

    I don't understand the reason for trimming down the number of plates though.. it seems that keeping as much of the original information intact as possible would be the most logical route. Why not just append an adjusted interpretation? I am unaware of things, I think.. can one person know what would be most useful for all? Concerning the preparatory plates, I feel like these could still be important for some, and possibly even something as small as the difference in the letters between plate 3 and plate 78 might be relevant information. Or perhaps that's just the result of sloppy printing, who knows

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rheomode View Post
    I don't understand the reason for trimming down the number of plates though.. it seems that keeping as much of the original information intact as possible would be the most logical route.
    One word, ego's intellect. Academia always seems to think that they know. (Having said that, I do respect McLean, and I know enough about his works that he doesn't believe himself as one, an academic that is.)

    No one for sure knows which 'interpretations' of the Plates are correct. Barchusen is also a knock off, I think. . . . there're others. One may want to meditate on the Plates. Then, be sensitive enough to see in what way, in what form, the answers present themselves to you. . . . It's a fun exploration, a method of sort.

  6. #36
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    Female alchemist

    Take a look at Plate no.76, you already have quite likely, the flask, within it, it's clearly a female archetype or figure that's holding the crown of possibly Nature. Then, the link you kindly provided the first image also shows us a female alchemist, isn't that so? I find this drawing entitled "L'interno del laboratorio" quite illustrative. It's not often that an alchemical manuscript has a female alchemist displayed.

    The other point I wanted to highlight that Crowning of Nature, the accompanied text with it, contains many similar if not identical phrases and sayings and quotes from an earlier work, Rosarium Philosophorum.

  7. #37
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    One may want to meditate on the Plates. Then, be sensitive enough to see in what way, in what form, the answers present themselves to you. . . . It's a fun exploration, a method of sort.
    I've found this method to be useful! Last year I received a reproduction of the 1709 Tarot de Marseilles deck which I wanted specifically because I was intrigued by the imagery of the major arcana. I had an immediate reaction to the Ace of Cups which surprised me, so further study in this area is on the list of things to go back and explore when I free up some time. There are some interesting parallels between these cards and the plates, I see the World card in plate 76.

    And concerning the female alchemist, I have had a question regarding this for a short time. It was suggested to me last year (by a man) that women will have a different response to the alchemical imagery and symbolism based on their gender, so that the teaching or communication of the process for men would require adjustments in order to work for women. Is this an accepted view? I am not aware of encountering obstacles based on a misinterpretation of the imagery due to my gender, but I am still working through this process, so I am unsure.

    I was actually going to ask you what your impressions were of the woodcuts from Rosarium

  8. #38
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    I must agree a lot of the classic texts aren't quite what some believe them to be. Of course there are plenty which are absolutely invaluable as well. I can't imagine what I would have done had I not found some of them. Modern books and forums can be great too but some things just aren't on available at least that I've been able to find thus far.

    Of course this forum has also been quite useful. Especially for more than just work! I kind of view this place like a living book written by many alchemists. So naturally we get a lot of dregs but also plenty of gems.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    Regarding the books written by the authors we consider to be 'The Classics'...
    Throughout years of reading, practical experience and much applied discernment, I have come to the realization that a considerable number of Alchemical writings (that we usually cherish) are in fact close to utterly useless when it comes to the Great Work itself. People were people then, as they are today - and I don't need to elaborate on what this means...
    Very rarely I find myself criticizing your views.
    I know you have a bad memory for non transcendent things, but I have a good one.
    When I joined this forum I did it with a clear intention: I was having troubles with extracting potassium carbonate from a plant by a simple calcination. Nowadays it's something simple for me to do, but when I joined this forum it was a burden. You somehow said that it was not the way of the adepts, nor very useful for the Philosopher's Stone or even Spagyrics in a traditional way.

    And I told you something: "You are probably right, but I need to build a bike before building a spaceship".
    It was mostly due to some tips that you gave me that I managed to do the incredibly alchemical task of extracting the potassium carbonate... and I was jumping in joy when I did it (it was FANTASTIC to see that the plant contained such a beautiful salt in it... and I was sad due to a separation with a former girlfriend and the extraction of the salt somehow finished that sadness).

    Was such thing relevant to the "Great Work"? YES. If I haven't managed to do such a simple thing, I would have been lost in harder tasks.
    Your posts speak by themselves. Your understanding of alchemy is unquestionable... and yet: Would you have arrived to that understanding WITHOUT reading the classical texts?
    (and due to your posts I know you haven't just gave them a quick reading, but you could perfectly write a book on the classical texts establishing links, explaining what's actually going on in them, making historical comparisons, etc... I do not mean that you should do it, but I know you CAN do it).

    You have arrived to a very good understanding of alchemy, but you walked a long path and this path involved MANY books.
    So... don't forget your past and how you arrived to these ideas (which are OK, but not really a good "tip" for most people).

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    And the texts that are actually useful, even the ones more difficult to access publicly, are almost never to be regarded as plain or explicit recipes/methods/instructions/indications. In all or most cases, certain key factors will be either omitted or so cleverly disguised that they can only be found if the readers already know in advance what they are looking for.

    This is partially because what we usually refer to as the 'Alchemical Corpus' actually consists of more than the writings themselves. The writings are in most cases (not unlike most spiritual traditions) accompanied by ORAL TRANSMISSIONS, from one generation of Alchemists to another, and these oral transmissions would most likely be of an Initiatory nature, much more and beyond disclosing plain instructions or recipes. There is of course another important factor related to these orally transmitted initiations, which is the readiness of those who receive them.
    This is true and one of the greatest lucks a person can have is to find a friend who KNOWS how to read a text and helps you to do the same.
    And only after a deep understanding of the texts it is possible to somehow "dismiss" them. Other than that, Alchemy is so different to "common sense" that the "readiness" is gradual and progressive (then again, there are some persons who can never "get" it due to prejudices, obsessions, stubborn ideas, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    Like in all Arts and Sciences (let's call them 'The Liberal Arts'), one must pass through a process of selection, either natural & auto-initiatory (not uncommon), and/or by a Mentor who is an already accomplished MA (Master of the Arts). Alchemy is no different in this regard.
    Without caring if there is an external initiator or not, every initiation is ultimately an auto-initiation.
    It's a bit like writing poetry, you can go to poetry classes with the BEST poets of the world, read a lot of poetry, but finally the poetry always comes from you... the "professors" won't write your poetry for you.... they can't, even if they wanted to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    Another interesting phenomenon is when people gather in a non-hierarchical way to cooperate in The Great Work. Such people usually will each have Something of Value to bring to the table, for the sake of sharing and mutual enhancement. And by 'Something of Value', I do not mean access to some rare alchemical texts with 'clear instructions' or similar. Such associations/study groups based on texts alone are usually doomed to failure. Much more than just texts is needed for such associations or cooperative endeavors to work.
    I am somehow favorable to SMALL groups... There is a reason why ancient philosophy, especially after Plato, had a long tradition of dialogues. I am stealing a concept from someone else, but friendship is a condition of thinking, not the "friend", but the "friendship" itself. Finding reasonable partners is not easy and it may never happen... but a GOOD friend can teach you a lot.

    Though there's lot of conditions that have to be there: knowledge, honesty, caring for the other one, a real mutual help, a good interaction.

    We all have weak areas and strong areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    To summarize, our precious alchemical texts are only part of the equation, among other factors of equal (if not greater) importance. Yes, the texts can be very valuable, but definitely not enough in and of themselves. This is just my perspective. You don't have to believe it. Just follow your best texts to the letter and see where it gets you...
    I can't deny that you are right, but such thing doesn't necessarily leaves the texts behind. The person who helped me the most never gave me much when it comes to "recipes", but a true treasure when it comes to thinking right... and knowing how to read better.
    I was recently translating some old texts and I found myself "thanking" (internally) all the time a friend who taught me to read.

    I go back to the beginning and my beginning in this forum: a person who can't build a bike will probably not to be able to build a spaceship.
    The books may be only a part of the equation, but they are a part of the equation.

    (and there's different perspectives... in my own case listening to Morrissey made a HUGE difference).

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    Would you have arrived to that understanding WITHOUT reading the classical texts?
    No.

    But my exact wording was:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    I don't read that much Alchemical literature anymore.



    ----------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Andro; 05-10-2017 at 12:14 PM.

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