Dear Friends,
Here is a small collection of material added to the archives in no particular order, but related in the Hermetic sense in general.
Samten de Wet
Cape Town, 22nd  May 2018

 Chiara Crisciani , Opus and sermo: The Relationship between Alchemy and Prophecy (12th-14th Centuries) , Early Science and Medicine, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2008), pp. 4-24


 The subject of this paper is the relationship between alchemy and prophecy in the Latin culture of the period between the initial diffusion of alchemy in the West in the 12th century and the 14th century. This is a preliminary survey, which provides the necessary background for a better understanding of the so-called 'explosion' of the kind of prophetic and visionary alchemy that took place in the 15th century. Alchemy, which is knowledge of hidden things and an art of transformation toward perfection, is here tentatively interpreted and analysed as a form of 'concrete prophecy'.


Chiara Crisciani, Hermeticism and Alchemy: The Case of Ludovico Lazzarelli, Early Science and Medicine, Vol. 5, No. 2, Alchemy and Hermeticism (2000), pp. 145-159. [Hermetic texts]

George O. S. Darby, Ibn Wahshiya in Mediaeval Spanish Literature, Isis, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 1941), pp. 433-438 

Margaret Mendenhall. “The Music of the Spheres”: Musical Theory and Alchemical Image




Theodore Ziolkowski, Alchemist in Literature, From Dante to the Present

A clear chronological structure displays the development of the theme across the period. Considers major works alongside a selection of relevant minor works, providing a clear pattern by which other works can be measured and related. Relevant historical and biographical background enables readers to understand where each work fits into the argument. The index provides an easy reference to the writers and works discussed


Thomas Willard, Dreams and Symbols in The Chemical Wedding


Campbell, Mary Baine. “Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus.” Republics of

Letters: A Journal for the Study of Knowledge, Politics, and the Arts 1, no. 2 (April 30, 2010):

Cesarotti, William A., M.A.  Tending the fire: The alchemy of psychotherapy, Pacifica Graduate Institute. 2011: 113 pages


Håkan Håkansson, Alchemy of the Ancient Goths: Johannes Bureus’ Search for the Lost Wisdom of Scandinavia, Early Science and Medicine 17 (2012) 500-522

[Håkan Håkansson, Lund University Library]  Khem/texts


Paul T. Keyser, Alchemy in the Ancient World: From Science to Magic, Illinois Classical Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2 (FALL 1990), pp. 353-378


Mayhew, Nancy, The painter's palette: Alchemy and the act of painting, M.F.A.  California State University, Long Beach. 2010: 10 pages


Dan Merkur, Spiritual Alchemy in King Lear, Theosophical History, A Quarterly Journal of Research, Vol.8, No.10, Oct. 2002, pp.274-289.


Janne van Berkel, From Alberuni to Demons of the Flesh. The Historiography of Indian Alchemy.  MA-Thesis ,  Utrecht , 2011. [khem texts]


Helmut Nickel, "The Judgment of Paris" by Lucas Cranach the Elder: Nature, Allegory, and Alchemy, Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 16 (1981), pp. 117-129 [art/alchemy] also VENUS


Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John of Rupescissa in the Late Middle Ages by Leah DeVun - Review by: Chiara Crisciani, The American Historical Review, Vol. 115, No. 3 (JUNE 2010), pp. 879-880


The Elixir: An Alchemical Study of the Ergot Mushrooms


Arturo Schwarz, Indian and Western Alchemy Derivations and Deformations of Patterns, India International Centre Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2 (JUNE 1981), pp. 145-158 [REBIS/Alchemy]


Rosalie Anne Nardelli, Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Composite Portraits and the Alchemical Universe of the Early Modern Habsburg Court (1546-1612) M.A thesis submitted to the Graduate Program in Art History Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, July, 2014 [alchemy/art]


Persis Berlekamp, Painting as Persuasion: A Visual Defense of Alchemy in an Islamic Manuscript of the Mongol Period,  Muqarnas, Vol. 20 (2003), pp. 35-59

[The Silvery Water painting. Alchemical text, c.a. 1399 Topkapi Palce Library, A. 2075, fols. 2b-3a.]



Traditio mystica.


The “sacred craft” was a secret craft. The goddess Isis instructs her son Horus: “Keep it a great secret [megalomusterion].” The initiated were forbidden to divulge their knowledge; they could pass it on only to their “legitimate sons” and to those who were “worthy.” Alchemy, known through revelation, remained a privilege of the few, and the taboo of disclosure, well guarded through the ages, in an impressive example of traditio mystica, a very Hermetic feature.


The lore of the craft.


Alchemy, hopelessly aiming at the transformation of metals into gold, has often been viewed as something like a misguided application of chemistry. Yet its significance lies, indeed lay even for its practitioners, not so much in the experimental method and the outcome of metallic transmutation as in other spheres, notably anthropology, religion, and folklore. The story has been reconstructed by Mircea Eliade: it goes back to archaic times and surfaced in Hellenistic Egypt. Its protagonist was the smith, the adept who dominated matter by transforming it. The insights deriving from his work gave rise to new meanings and symbols: matter was suffering; transmutation perfected matter; redemption was freedom from matter. In short, the primary function of alchemy, physical transmutation, escalated into metaphysical transmutation: the opus alchimicum became a symbol of the opus divinum. “


Henry Kahane and Renée Kahane, Alchemy: Hellenistic and Medieval Alchemy, The Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition, (1987, p.244-248

IMAGE: Alchemical Athanor - Paul Laffoley  * * HERE

David Hopkins, Hermetic and Philosophical Themes in Max Ernst's 'Vox Angelica' and Related Works, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 134, No. 1076 (Nov., 1992), pp. 716-723

 David Hopkins, ‘Max Ernst’s La toilette de la mariée’, Burlington Magazine, 133, no. 1057 (April 1991), 237-44.

 James Hyman, Anselm Kiefer as Printmaker — II: Alchemy and the Woodcut, 1993-1999, Print Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1 (MARCH 2000), pp. 26-42

 Ann Temkin, "Nigredo," 1984, by Anselm Kiefer, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 365/366, Gifts from the Friends of the Museum, 1985-90 (Spring, 1990), pp. 25-26

 It seems as if the entire Alchemical Studies of C.G. Jung has been uploaded [HERE]   and a reasonable overview ALCHEMICAL STUDIES @ WIKIPEDIA.

 Alexandra  Marraccini, The Mind, The Garden, And The Flask: Ways of Knowing In Elias Ashmole’s Alchemical Manuscripts   [HERE]


This paper shall examine methods of both knowing the self and knowing the structure of the natural world through images of the garden in several alchemical manuscripts belonging to Early Modern antiquarian and scientist Elias Ashmole. In connecting the images of moths, flowers, and greenery in Bod MS Ash 1423 (a recipe book), to those of fruits in Ashmole’s Tradescantian material, and finally to the images of plants, trees, and their creaturely inhabitants in the Ripley Scrolls, this essay will explore how the Pre-Lapsarian garden-space was allegorised in Early Modern images. Like the Johns Tradescant, John Evelyn, and Hugh Plat, the alchemist in Early Modern England sought the recovery of the Hesperidean paradise on earth through study and experimentation. Images of the garden, this essay suggests, functioned to allow both alchemists and other natural scientists to think through both the macrocosmic order of the world, and the microcosmic structure of matter. Through seeing the garden as a laboratory, and the laboratory as a garden, Ashmole’s alchemical images in turn provoke a broader reading of nature itself as a ‘Book of the World’. The essay shall connect the garden as a physical space to the garden as an alchemical pictorial metaphor in order to explore related modes of knowing in Early Modern science.

"Nosce Te Ipsum/ Know Thyself": A Conference on Early Modern Images, History of Art Department, University College London,  May 2, 2015

Alexandra Marraccini, Fleshly wisdoms: image practices, bodies, and the transmission of knowledge in a sixteenth-century alchemical miscellany, Word & Image, Vol. 00, No. 00, XXXX 2017 1    [ONLINE HERE]

W. B. Yeats and The Vegetable Phoenix [HERE

Rania Elhelw, An Analogy between Pictorial Representations of Numerology in the Ancient Egyptian Civilization and the Islamic Civilization. [HERE]

Juliette Wood, The Celtic Tarot and the Secret Tradition: A Study in Modern Legend Making,  Folklore, Vol. 109 (1998), pp. 15-24

 Yoko Chiba, W. B. Yeats's Occultism as a Symbolic Link To Other Cultures, Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (HJEAS), Vol. 10, No. 1/2, Irish Literature and Culture: Getting into Contact (Spring/Fall, 2004), pp. 237-246

 Paul B. Fenton, Qabbalah and Academia: The Critical Study of Jewish Mysticism in France , Shofar, Vol. 18, No. 2 (WINTER 2000), pp. 45-69

Catherine Morris Westcott, The "Parsifal" Influence in the Work of Jean Delville, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Vol. 3, No. 1 (9), Special Art Edition, (1990), pp. 5-14 [alchemy-art]

Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Mysticism and Occultism in Modern Art. Art Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, Mysticism and Occultism in Modern Art (Spring,1987), pp. 5-8

Luba Freedman, Neptune in Classical and Renaissance Visual Art, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall, 1995), pp. 219-237 [Arcanum 11]

In his lectures on sculpture, Jacob Burckhardt characterized the Renaissance as exhibiting the revival of the images of pagan gods. The question arises, how the images of the pagan gods, as shaped by Renaissance artists, differ from those made by artists of ancient Greece and Rome. Although this question can hardly be answered within the scope of a single paper, I will illustrate it by investigating the image of Neptune. The choice of Neptune is particularly apt, since Neptune's functions are more limited than those of several other Olympian deities - that is, his activities are confined to the maritime domain. Moreover, Neptune serves as an appropriate subject for discussing the general question posed above because Renaissance artists had no recourse to ancient representations of this god in monumental works of art, whereas such models were available to them for other deities, like Apollo or Venus. Lacking first-hand acquaintance with large-scale classical works representing Neptune, Renaissance artists thus had to rely on their own imagination.” 219

Francis T. Marchese, The Origins and Rise of Medieval Information Visualization

Edward P. Butler, Neoplatonism and Polytheism, From: Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion, pp. 124-139

Julian Strube, The “Baphomet” of Eliphas Lévi: Its Meaning and Historical Context, Correspondences 4 (2016) 37–79. [Arcanum 15]

David Porreca, Hermes Philosophus: Ramon Martí's Singular Use of a Mythical Authority.   [SUMMARY HERE]

Abraham Abulafia: Meditations on the Divine Name  [HERE]

David Frankfurter, The Magic of Writing and the Writing of Magic: The Power of the Word in Egyptian and Greek Traditions, Helios, vol.21, no.2, 1994.

The imagery in the Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit  [HERE]

 Tzvi Langermann, Who Owns Sefir Yesira?  [HERE

Mark Filipas, A Lexicon Theory of Tarot Origin   [HERE]

The Psychedelic Experience ~ A manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead  by  Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., & Richard Alpert, [HERE


    n    c

The saturnine "night of lead" in which the body falls prey to dissolution and putrefaction, is indicated here by the gaping mouth.

"Within lead there dwells a shameless demon who drives men to madness".
(Olympiodoros, 5th century)

Goosen van Vreeswjk. De Goude Leeuw, Amsterdam, 1676.  From Alexander Roob, p.196
10th June 2000

Dream. I am trapped in a cult centre, somewhere in the country. Everyone is dressed in blue. There are various activities, in a variety of spaces. I cannot recall the details. But we find a sunken area, in a back yard, fenced in, where there is a way of escape. Beneath a bank of stone and earth, there is an exit, but when we descend some steps,  and move to the left, the exit turns out to be a  drain, or storm-water pipe. Wide enough to crawl on all fours, it presents a black hole, without even the slightest sign of a pinprick of light at the other end. It is a black circle, a yantra.

I think that even if I, or we did crawl into it - there was the danger of a flood, or water being released while we were in the pipe.  The next day, I was looking at the image of Saturn, with his mouth in a black circle - like one of the rubber  felatio dolls, seen in the window of Amsterdam - and I thought, yes, that hole, is a Saturn yantra - a nigredo, a black bindu, that I have to enter, eventually.
"I turn backwards to unholy, unspeakable, mysterious night. Far off lies the world - sunk within a deep grave - (…) In dewdrops I would sink and mingle with ashes."

Novalis, Hymnen an die Nacht.
 In Roob, Alchemy, p. 200

"Looking from afar, I saw a great cloud that cast a black shadow over the whole earth, absorbing it, which covered my soul, and because the waters had reached it (the soul) they became rotten and corrupt from the vision of the lowest hell and of the shadow of death, for the Flood drowned me. Then the Ethiopians will fall down before me, and my enemies will lick my earth."

Aurora consurgens
, 14th century.

Here, we place a most wonderful image from  the Sapientia veterum philosophorum, manuscript, 18th century.

It shows a sealed alchemical vase, the one half is jet black, and above, a white dove is flying downwards:

n     c

"O happy gate of blackness, cries the sage, which art the passage to this so glorious change."

Scholia to "The Golden Treatise of Hermes, " quoted in Attwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy, pp. 126f. [From Edinger, Anatomy, p. 149.

Essentialy, these examples show the deep connections between Saturn and the NIGREDO of PLUTO, ARCANUM 22.

Samten de wet, Cape Town 2016

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