A Short Catechism of Alchemy (excerpt)

December 29, 2010 § 4 Comments


Q. What should receive the most careful attention of the Philosopher?
A. Assuredly, the end of Nature, and this is by no means to be looked for in the vulgar metals, because, these having issued already from the hands of the fashioner, it is no longer to be found therein.

Q. For what precise reason?
A. Because the vulgar metals, and chiefly gold, are absolutely dead, while ours, on the contrary, are absolutely living, and possess a soul.

Q. What is the life of metals?
A. It is no other substance than fire, when they are as yet imbedded in the mines.

Q. What is their death?
A. Their life and death are in reality one principle, for they die, as they live, by fire, but their death is from a fire of fusion.

from A Short Catechism of Alchemy, by Paracelsus


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§ 4 Responses to A Short Catechism of Alchemy (excerpt)

  • Willi Paul says:

    I think that the language of the “ancients” could be problematic for us new alchemists.

    Can we make an effort to bring the prose into this Age? Maybe offer both translations? I like the simplicity in Hauck….




  • David says:

    Part of the language of the ancients involves meditating on the movement of meaning that happens when we’re hit with ideas that lie outside of our common associations. Zen koans act on this principle, giving us simple paradoxes that open up to profound meanings.

    These early excerpts and notes on the Royal Art will develop like seeds once we get into Dennis’ CIGA where we’ll re-encounter the symbols again on different levels with fuller explanations as to their possible interpretations.

    Any translation would be colored by our personal associations, arising from our traditions, beliefs, psychological tendencies, habitual thoughts, etc. and would have to be yet again translated by the person reading it. For now we can read them, meditate and open our revelations to discussion.

    What emerges when you read this short excerpt? Or the full tract linked through the “from…” line? What is your translation?

  • Willi Paul says:

    Poetry in disconnectedness….

  • Erika Harris says:

    I yield yes to both you Gentlemen. I am encumbered by the riddle, AND enchanted by the reach.

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