David – Chapter 4
January 30, 2011 § 6 Comments
Chapter 4 of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Alchemy has yet again provided rich ground for the intrepid seeker to dig into, and a host of companions to guide us in the Art. Having traveled from Alexandria, through the Islamic world, we find ourselves in the Middle Ages at the full flowering of European culture. The stone has been set in the great cathedrals, and the European alchemists pursue the Art with diligence.
“In every spot where the flowers of legend grow, underneath there is the solid earth of truth.”
– from the Alchemy Lab’s page on Nicholas Flamel
As I did with Apollonius in a prior chapter, in Chapter 4 I became enamoured with the story of Nicholas Flamel whose very name speaks to the victory for the people deeply engaged in the Art. His presence gave wealth to the surrounding community.
From his small shop at the base of the Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie I joined him on his journey to Sant’Iago de Compostela. Raising my self in imagination” in the Church-yard of the Innocents, in the fourth Arch, entering by the great gate of St. Dennis Street, and taking the way on the right hand,” as I read his Explication of the Hieroglyphic Figures, the fruit of his labors.
Today all that is left of the Church of St. James is the tower in which Flamel’s remains are housed. Pilgrims still travel West on their way to Sant’Iago de Compostela, adorning their hats with sun like shells to mark their journey. The vine of tradition still allows those who seek access to an entrance into the way.
It is for those who would seek to separate the matter from it’s root that the truth withers. As Flamel says in his Summary of Philosophy: “Now if any one plucks this unripe fruit from the tree, then its first forming would be frustrate, nor would it grow larger nor ripe; for man knows not how to give substance, nourishment, or maturity, so well as internal nature, while the fruit yet hangs on the tree, which feeds it with substance and nourishment, till the determined maturity is accomplished.”
For me this was a most illuminating chapter.
Ora, lege, lege, relege, labora et invenies
(Pray, read, read, re-read, work and discover)