Et Habebis Magisterium – Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century

June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

“The acceptance of the essential unity of the universe and the cousinhood of all things in nature opened up an experience of the world that was very different from technical prescriptions. Alchemical work became an immersion in a sacramental activity, and it was termed the Great Work in which prayer and contemplation played an essential part.”

–   from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century, Clare Goodrick-Clarke

“The vast field of spagyrics presents itself rather like a mosaic that is only slowly completed by the collaboration of the reader.”

– from Spagyrics, Manfred Junius

Study which centers on the very essence of truth finds it’s most valuable expression in a fully engaged life of practice. In Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century, Clare Goodrick-Clarke brings us a vital exploration of the humble, yet profound, art of spagyrics, the Paracelsean alchemical approach to discovering the quintessence of the vegetable kingdom.

As she explains in the introduction “The word spagyric (German spagyrik) comes from two Greek verbs: spao (to separate) and agyro (to unite), in accordance with the alchemical maxim solve et coagula, et habebis magisterium—“dissolve and bind, and you will have the magistery.” As the two Greek verbs suggest, the process of separating and combining imply a synthesis in which the finished whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Spagyrics formed the core of Paracelsus’ practical medicinal work, and draws benefits from his synthesis of folk herbalism, academic theory, esoteric philosophy and practical experience.

While many are familiar with herbalism, and the use of natural remedies, as alternatives to pharmaceuticals or invasive medical treatments, these are not the sole means of participating in the beneficial medicinal aspects of plant life. .

“We stand at the threshold of a new era of medicine and at a point where it may be useful to engage with what has been known in the past about the importance of phytomedicines in all their various forms.”

–   from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century, Clare Goodrick-Clarke

Goodrick-Clarke clearly demonstrates the expansion of contemporary medical practices possible through the application of Alchemical insights. Offering no illusory cure all, she shows that it is in our relationship with the whole that we become healthy. This is medicine for living, and a living medicine, whose preparation, application and influence works to ground us in the very life of the world around us.

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