Alchemical Traditions: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde

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9780987559821: Alchemical Traditions: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde
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Spanning the world's artistic, scientific and religious traditions, alchemy has embraced and continues to embrace the complete spectrum of existence. From metallurgy to metaphysics, alchemy engages the technical, fine and hieratic arts in order to provide a living phenomenology of the one, single, elusive process that acts through all things. Ultimately-in its guise as ars transmutationis - alchemy penetrates to the heart of the transfiguring spiritual intensity that underpins the perfection of life, not only from 'mineral to man', but from humanity to divinity. Despite this profoundly all-embracing purview, alchemy continues to be conceived as either proto-chemistry or proto-psychology. The present volume seeks to redress this false dichotomy by exploring alchemy as a quintessentially integral phenomenon.

Opening wide the full spectrum of alchemy - from east to west, in history and practice, from antiquity to the avant-garde - our aim is to penetrate as deeply as possible, within the limits of a single volume, into the rich practical and experiential traditions of the alchemical mysterium. Featuring both well-established scholars and emerging, cutting-edge researchers, this book synthesises a quintessentially high caliber of academic authorities on the vast and baroque heritage of the alchemical world. As a whole, the volume seeks to strike the perfect balance - the golden mean - between strict, historical objectivity and empathic, phenomenological insight.

Drawn from international ranks (Europe, the Antipodes, the Americas) and cutting across disciplinary boundaries (Egyptology, Classics, Sinology, Indology, Tibetology, philosophy, religious studies, Renaissance studies, history of science, art history, critical theory, media studies), the contributors to this volume include some of the most gifted investigators into the world's esoteric lineages.

Aaron CHEAK ∙ Algis UŽDAVINYS ∙ Angela VOSS ∙ Christopher A. PLAISANCE ∙ Dan MELLAMPHY ∙ David Gordon WHITE ∙ Hereward TILTON ∙ Kim LAI ∙ Leon MARVELL ∙ Mirco MANNUCCI ∙ Paul SCARPARI ∙ Rodney BLACKHIRST ∙ Sabrina DALLA VALLE


  • Circumambulating the Alchemical Mysterium
  • The Perfect Black: Egypt and Alchemy
  • Telestic Transformation and Philosophical Rebirth: From Ancient Egypt to Neoplatonism
  • Metallurgy and Demiurgy: The Roots of Greek Alchemy in the Mythology of Hephaestos (Discussions)
  • Taking from Water to Fill in Fire: The History and Dynamics of Taoist Alchemy
  • Mercury and Immortality: The Hindu Alchemical Tradition
  • Iatrochemistry, Metaphysiology, Gnōsis: Tibetan Alchemy in the Kālacakra Tantra
  • Interzone: On the Origins and Nature of European Alchemy
  • The Alchemical Khiasmos: Counter-Stretched Harmony and Divine Self-Perception
  • Altus’ Ominous Aphorism: Reading as Alchemical Process
  • Turris Philosophorum: On the Alchemical Iconography of the Tower
  • Of Ether, Entheogens and Colloidal Gold: Heinrich Khunrath and the Making of a Philosophers’ Stone
  • Becoming an Angel: The Mundus Imaginalis of Henry Corbin and the Platonic Path of Self-Knowledge
  • The Kiss of Death: Amor, Corpus Resurrectionis and the Alchemical Transfiguration of Eros
  • Agent of All Mutations: Metallurgical, Biological and Spiritual
  • Evolution in the Alchemy of René Schwaller de Lubicz
  • Take Two Emerald Tablets in the Morning: Surrealism and the Alchemical Transubstantiation of the World
  • Incredible Lunatic of the Future: The Alchemical Horticulture of Alan Chadwick
  • Alchemical Endgame: ‘Checkmate’ in Beckett and Eliot

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