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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Images of the Alchemical Art's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
5:56 pm
5:55 pm
My first published book review
Hello to anybody still following. Here's a link to a review I did for an academic journal of Zambelli's recent book on Renaissance Magic http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/acpub/asrr/2012/00000003/00000002/art00013
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
12:53 pm
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
8:30 pm
Sunday, November 28th, 2010
3:47 pm
misc alchemy links
Alchemy - good quality images of the emblems http://www.royalvibes.com/downloads/Twelve_Keys_of_Basil_Valentine.pdf
# A pivotal moment in Lawrence Principe's[Alchemy]scholarship was low key as pivotal moments go http://www.jhu.edu/jhumag/0299web/glitter.html half a minute ago via web
Alchemy Primary Sources http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/ufhatch/pages/03-Sci-Rev/SCI-REV-Home/sr-research/eebo-alchemy.htm
more alchemy symbols http://signsofpotential.com/2009/07/a-little-alchemy/
Blogging the Periodic Table: Alchemical Antimony http://www.slate.com/id/2258112/entry/2258837
# Llull principles diagram http://www.obscurantist.com/images/lull-principles.gif Stairs+wheel of logic http://bit.ly/hfSwzQ
Alchemy images among others http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.com/2007/10/lucky-dip.html
Edward Kelley's Heiroglyph + Basil Valentine's Emblem as Key http://bit.ly/fR7GO6 in Emblems and alchemy By Alison Adams, Stanton J. Linden
Alchemy colorized http://www.alchemywebsite.com/bookshop/prints_series_val_azoth.html
http://www.alchemywebsite.com/twelve_keys.html Notes on the 'Twelve Keys of Basil Valentine' By Adam McLean. Hermetic Journal 1987.
http://unurthed.com/category/alchemy/ Instruments of the Magical Imagination
small images are free http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/alchemy.html
The twelve keys is by Basil Valentine supposed to have been a Bendictine Monk-Adept of 15th cent. http://www.levity.com/alchemy/keys12.html
Lists of sequences of alchemical emblems http://www.levity.com/alchemy/s_images.html
Geometrical deconstruction of eighth key http://www.alchemywebsite.com/kurt_godwin14.html
Newton's Dark Secrets http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/activities/3217_newton.html
"peacock's tail." http://alchemicalpsychology.com/new/7.htm
modern interpretation of Basil Valentine's twelve alchemical keys http://www.alchemylab.com/godwindoc.htm
Symbols in books of Alchemy http://www.lib.umich.edu/tcp/docs/dox/alchem.html
Saturday, November 20th, 2010
11:54 am
Sunday, November 14th, 2010
3:12 pm
Newman and Principe have described the ‘spiritual’ interpretation as the view that alchemy “was an art of internal meditation or illumination rather than an external manipulation of apparatus and chemicals”.8 They argue that the effect of this movement on the historiography of alchemy has been detrimental, largely because it introduced a false distinction between ‘scientific’ and ‘spiritual’ alchemy: the “quasi-scientific” occultists provoked some chemists to re-examine their history and reclaim their heritage, emphasising the ‘scientific’ over the ‘spiritual’.
Thursday, October 28th, 2010
1:52 pm
Alchemical Radio Play
BBC R4 - Beatrice Colin's 'Mercury, Sulphur And Salt '
Directed by Patrick Rayner
Broadcast March 10, 2000
(Paracelsus is a character... there's another about him called The Peacock's Tail)
I'm looking forward to listening to this!
Sunday, October 24th, 2010
2:55 pm
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
2:39 pm
Friday, October 22nd, 2010
4:32 pm
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
2:21 pm
Friday, September 24th, 2010
12:01 am
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
9:46 pm
call for papers -- deadline extended! (extra credit if you get a paper in the conference)

Greetings!  Societas Alchimica has extended the deadline for abstracts for those interested in presenting at the sessions we're sponsoring at the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI, May 12-15 2011.  The September 15 deadline has been extended until September 30, and papers on the intersection of alchemy and magic are more than welcome.  Independent scholars (those not affiliated with a university) are also welcome.  Our general topics are:

Alchemy in the Literature, Art, and Natural Philosophy of the 14th Century  (co-sponsored with the 14th Century Society)

Alchemy and whatever you might like to talk about as long as you do so in an entertaining and erudite fashion.  (was: Alchemy and the History of Science, but we have received few papers and may retitle the session depending on the proposals we receive.)

If you're interested, please send an abstract to me at burnst@uwplatt.edu.  If you're an independent scholar, please send a paragraph describing your background of scholarship with the material.


Teresa Burns
Societas Alchimica

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
10:45 pm
10:43 pm
Saturday, August 28th, 2010
4:01 am
recent book on alchemy
Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence
By Karen Pinkus

How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy's ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but "alchemy" is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or "intensive property" of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements. Alchemical Mercury moves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.
Monday, August 23rd, 2010
4:26 pm
debate on spiritual vs. physicalist alchemy from FB
Phil Norfleet Gnostic strategies for accomplishing the liberation of the soul, rest upon the belief that the 'divine spark' in man is not an inert and alien residue, but is an attribute that retains a divine power to bring about change in the world and in the self. Alchemy was one such strategy. At the loftiest level, the alchemists... brought together imagination, will, reason, and knowledge to constitute a powerful spiritual force.

Ted Hand (aka t3dy) This may be true for "spiritual alchemists" especially since the 19th century, but it sure seems from the texts of the medieval alchemists that they were primarily interested in the physical transmutation of matter rather than any spiritual practice. For most historical alchemists alchemy was not a separate religion, but rather a science that was not intended to supersede their own religious tradition, be it Muslim, Christian, or Jewish.

Phil Norfleet
Sorry Ted, I must disagree. Almost all of the alchemical texts written during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance may be understood at two different levels. At the exoteric level, the texts describe hands-on laboratory procedures. How...ever, these same texts, when appropriately decrypted, deal with the psychological transmutation of man. An excellent and relatively well-known example of this is the "Twelve Keys of Basil Valentine." This document, when the Twelve Keys have been properly sequenced and decrypted, is a text at least as powerful as any of the writings of G. I. Gurdjieff. It is nothing less than a recipe for physical and mental excercises that are capable of leading to a profound change in both streams human consciousness.

Ted Hand
I don't disagree that you can use the texts that way, nor would I condescend to deny their power (I use them myself!--but more importantly I'm committed to studying them on the basis of their head-science value for anybody regardless of esoteric affiliation) however I'm not convinced that such an initiatory understanding of the "keys" to the code actually reflects the intentions of the medieval writers of alchemical texts. They may have had their own recipes but I don't think they had (or even felt the need for) such an elaborate theory of spiritual transmutation. I would love to see a book about spiritual alchemy that can explain it to me (can you refer me to anything specific?), but I have looked at a great deal of the research out there and haven't found much in the spiritual alchemy camp that makes sense, whereas the physicalist readings of the serious scholars who are working on the subject (Principe, Newman, etc.) are grounded in the most scrupulous textual scholarship (although see Hereward Tilton's excellent critique of their approach in Michael Maier: Quest for the Phoenix, and his rehabilitation of the Jungian method, which I don't entirely reject myself). I don't deny that there may be a spiritual alchemy which the medieval authors of alchemical texts practiced, but I don't think it looks anything like post-19th century Atwoodian/Jungian "spiritual alchemy"

In my opinion, rather than looking to the worldview of contemporary occultism and attempting to
anachronistically read it back into the alchemical texts themselves, we should be looking at the roots of spiritual alchemy in the Hermetic and late-hellenic/Jewish alchemists themselves. We have very interesting evidence in Zosimos, for example, that there was a spiritual alchemy, but accounts of this spiritual alchemy surviving past the Islamic developments into medieval europe in some subterranean manner rest on speculation rather than hard textual evidence. I have no doubt that the alchemical symbols remained powerful and useful, but I think it makes more sense to understand Christian alchemists as reading them in a Christian fashion, rather than inventing this entity of a "gnostic religion" which is somehow being transmitted across confessional boundaries.

What is common to all the medieval alchemical traditions is the legitimate spirituality of neoplatonism. But since these authors had their our religious committments, I don't think they felt a need a gnosis behind alchemy--it was a worthy pursuit in itself as a science without requiring some ultimate justification outside of the orthodox perspective. When we look at guys like Albert and Roger Bacon, alchemy is seen as a pious scientific undertaking that is religiously important not because it imparts an esoteric gnosis or uplifts the soul, but because alchemy is a wonderful tool for doing natural philosophy and natural theology at both the practical and theoretical levels. Even as late as Agrippa we don't see anything like the 19th century version of spiritual alchemy, but it is clear from the de vanitate (see Lehrich's book on Agrippa) that Agrippa was very interested in alchemy and positioned himself as an insider. There was a Christian Renaissance Magic which included alchemy as an occult science, but it was a tradition that usually attempted to explain its "results" in terms of the orthodox spirituality and worldview of its times.

My main concern in raising this issue is that I think it would do a disservice to authors of alchemical texts not to attempt to reconstruct as precisely as we can whatever spirituality they "projected" onto their science.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
1:24 pm
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
1:49 pm
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