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Ancient Knowledge, Mysticism & Sacred Beliefs => The Ancient Arts: Astrology, Alchemy, the Tarot, Arcane Recondite Practices & the I Ching => Topic started by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:06:07 pm



Title: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:06:07 pm




                                                             A L C H E M Y




            (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/08/01/science/alchemy.1.600.jpg)




In the history of science, Alchemy (Arabic: الخيمياء, al-khimia) refers to both an early form of the investigation of nature and an early philosophical and spiritual discipline, both combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, Astrology, semiotics, mysticism, spiritualism, and art all as parts of one greater force.                                                                                              

 Alchemy has been practiced in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, and China, in Classical Greece and Rome, in the Muslim civilization, and then in Europe up to the 19th century—in a complex network of schools and philosophical systems spanning at least 2500 years.


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:10:51 pm




Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline





Alchemy was known as the spagyric art after Greek words meaning to separate and to join together.


Compare this with the primary dictum of Alchemy in Latin: SOLVE ET COAGULA — Separate, and Join Together.



                                   (http://www.occultopedia.com/images_/topic/alchemist.jpg)

The best known goals of the alchemists were the transmutation of common metals into gold or silver (less well known is plant alchemy, or "Spagyric"), and the creation of a "panacea," a remedy that supposedly would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely. Although these were not the only uses for the science, they were the ones most documented and well known. Starting with the Middle Ages, European alchemists invested much effort on the search for the "philosopher's stone", a legendary substance that was believed to be an essential ingredient for either or both of those goals. The philosopher's stone was believed to mystically amplify the user's knowledge of alchemy so much that anything was attainable. Alchemists enjoyed prestige and support through the centuries, though not for their pursuit of those goals, nor the mystic and philosophical speculation that dominates their literature. Rather it was for their mundane contributions to the "chemical" industries of the day—the invention of gunpowder, ore testing and refining, metalworking, production of ink, dyes, paints, and cosmetics, leather tanning, ceramics and glass manufacture, preparation of extracts and liquors, and so on (It seems that the preparation of aqua vitae, the "water of life", was a fairly popular "experiment" among European alchemists).

Indeed, from antiquity until well into the Modern Age, a physics devoid of metaphysical insight would have been as unsatisfying as a metaphysics devoid of physical manifestation. For one thing, the lack of common words for chemical concepts and processes, as well as the need for secrecy, led alchemists to borrow the terms and symbols of biblical and pagan mythology, astrology, kabbalah, and other mystic and esoteric fields; so that even the plainest chemical recipe ended up reading like an abstruse magic incantation. Moreover, alchemists sought in those fields the theoretical frameworks into which they could fit their growing collection of disjointed experimental facts.

Starting with the Middle Ages, some alchemists increasingly came to view these metaphysical aspects as the true foundation of alchemy; and chemical substances, physical states, and material processes as mere metaphors for spiritual entities, states and transformations. In this sense, the literal meanings of alchemical formulas were a blind hiding their true spiritual philosophy, which being at odds with the Medieval Church was a necessity that could have otherwise lead them to the "stake and rack" of the Inquisition under charges of heresy.  Thus, both the transmutation of common metals into gold and the universal panacea symbolized evolution from an imperfect, diseased, corruptible and ephemeral state towards a perfect, healthy, incorruptible and everlasting state; and the philosopher's stone then represented some mystic key that would make this evolution possible. Applied to the alchemist himself, the twin goal symbolized his evolution from ignorance to enlightenment, and the stone represented some hidden spiritual truth or power that would lead to that goal. In texts that are written according to this view, the cryptic alchemical symbols, diagrams, and textual imagery of late alchemical works typically contain multiple layers of meanings, allegories, and references to other equally cryptic works; and must be laboriously "decoded" in order to discover their true meaning.
                                     (http://www.english.upenn.edu/Projects/knarf/Gifs/para3.gif)
In his Alchemical Catechism, Paracelsus clearly denotes that his usage of the metals was a symbol:

“ Q. When the Philosophers speak of gold and silver, from which they extract their matter, are we to suppose that they refer to the vulgar gold and silver?
A. By no means; vulgar silver and gold are dead, while those of the Philosophers are full of life.


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:13:43 pm







Alchemy and Astrology





Since its earliest times, Alchemy has been closely connected to Astrology—which, in the Islamic world and Europe, generally meant the traditional Babylonian-Greek school of Astrology.

Alchemical systems often postulated that each of the seven planets known to the ancients "ruled" or was associated with certain metals.

See the separate article on Astrology and Alchemy for further details.

In Hermeticism it is linked with both Astrology and Theurgy.


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:15:31 pm







Psychology





Carl Jung saw alchemy as a Western proto-psychology dedicated to the achievement of individuation; in his interpretation, alchemy was the vessel by which Gnosticism survived its various purges into the Renaissance. In this sense, Jung viewed alchemy as comparable to a Yoga of the West.

Jung also interpreted Chinese Alchemical texts in terms of his analytical psychology as means to individuation.

The act of Alchemy seemed to improve the mind and spirit of the Alchemist.


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:18:10 pm







MAGNUM OPUS




The Great Work; mystic interpretation of its three stages:


nigredo(-putrefactio), blackening(-putrefaction): individuation, purification, burnout of impureness; see also Suns in Alchemy - Sol Niger

albedo, whitening: spiritualisation, enlightenment
 
rubedo, reddening: unification of man with god, unification of the limited with the unlimited


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:20:24 pm






Alchemy in the Age of Science



(http://www.preoccupations.org/WindowsLiveWriter/Alchemy_6716/image04.png)

Western alchemy was a forerunner of modern scientific chemistry. Alchemists used many of the same tools that we use today. These tools were not usually sturdy or in good condition, especially during the Dark Ages of Europe. Many transmutation attempts failed when alchemists unwittingly made unstable chemicals. This was made worse by the unsafe conditions.



Up to the 16th century, alchemy was considered serious science in Europe; for instance, Isaac Newton devoted considerably more of his time and writing to the study of alchemy (see Isaac Newton's occult studies) than he did to either optics or physics, for which he is famous. Other eminent alchemists of the Western world are Roger Bacon, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Tycho Brahe, Thomas Browne, and Parmigianino. The decline of alchemy began in the 18th century with the birth of modern chemistry, which provided a more precise and reliable framework for matter transmutations and medicine, within a new grand design of the universe based on rational materialism.



In the first half of the nineteenth century, one established chemist, Baron Carl Reichenbach, worked on concepts similar to the old alchemy, such as the Odic force, but his research did not enter the mainstream of scientific discussion.



Matter transmutation, the old goal of alchemy, enjoyed a moment in the sun in the 20th century when physicists were able to convert lead atoms into gold atoms via a nuclear reaction. However, the new gold atoms, being unstable isotopes, lasted for under five seconds before they broke apart. More recently, reports of table-top element transmutation—by means of electrolysis or sonic cavitation—were the pivot of the cold fusion controversy of 1989. None of those claims have yet been reliably duplicated.



Alchemical symbolism has been occasionally used in the 20th century by psychologists and philosophers.

 Carl Jung reexamined alchemical symbolism and theory and began to show the inner meaning of alchemical work as a spiritual path. Alchemical philosophy, symbols and methods have enjoyed something of a renaissance in post-modern contexts, such as the New Age movement.


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:22:48 pm







Medical alchemy




Traditional medicines have been transmuted by alchemy, using pharmacological or combination pharmacological and spiritual techniques. In Chinese medicine the alchemical traditions of pao zhi will transform the nature of the temperature, taste, body part accessed or toxicity. In Ayurveda the samskaras are used to transform heavy metals and toxic herbs in a way that removes their toxicity. In the spagyric processing of herbal medicine similar effects are found.                                         

These processes are actively used to the present day.




Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:25:42 pm







Nuclear transmutation




In 1919, Ernest Rutherford used artificial disintegration to convert nitrogen into oxygen. This process or transmutation has subsequently been carried out on a commercial scale by bombarding atomic nuclei with high energy particles from modern particle accelerators and in nuclear reactors.                 

Indeed, in 1980, Glenn Seaborg transmuted bismuth into gold, though the amount of energy used and the microscopic quantities that are created would negate any possible financial benefit, unless the energy used is considered to be free and microscopic production becomes macroscopic production.


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:27:38 pm







Unduplicated transmutation claims





In 1964, George Ohsawa and Michio Kushi, based on the claims of Corentin Louis Kervran, reportedly successfully transmuted sodium into potassium, by use of an electric arc, and later of carbon and oxygen into iron.[citation needed] In 1994, R. Sundaresan and J. Bockris reported that they had observed fusion reactions in electrical discharges between carbon rods immersed in water. 
       

However, these claims have not been replicated by other scientists, and the idea is now thoroughly discredited


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:35:34 pm







Alchemy as a subject of historical research




The history of Alchemy has become a vigorous academic field.                                                     

As the obscure hermetic language of the Alchemists is gradually being "deciphered", historians are becoming more aware of the intellectual connections between that discipline and other facets of Western cultural history, such as the sociology and psychology of the intellectual communities, Kabbalism, Spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, and other Mystic Movements, Cryptography, Witchcraft, and the evolution of Science and Philosophy.






                                                 HISTORY:  Alchemy in history



 
Extract and symbol key from a 17th century book on Alchemy. The symbols used have a one-to-one correspondence with symbols used in Astrology at the time.

FAKEAlchemy encompasses several philosophical traditions spanning some four millennia and three continents. These traditions' general penchant for cryptic and symbolic language makes it hard to trace their mutual influences and "genetic" relationships.

One can distinguish at least several major strands, which appear to be largely independent, at least in their earlier stages: Chinese Alchemy, centered in China and its zone of cultural influence; Indian Alchemy in the Indian subcontinent; and Western Alchemy, whose center has shifted over the millennia between Egypt, Greece and Rome, the Islamic world, and finally Europe.

Chinese Alchemy was closely connected to Taoism and Indian Alchemy was related to the Dharmic religions, whereas Western Alchemy developed its own philosophical system, with only superficial connections to the major Western religions. It is still an open question whether these two strands share a common origin, or to what extent they influenced each other.

A major text of Alchemy, called the Mutus Liber, was published in France in the late 17th century. This was a 'wordless book' that claimed to be a guide to making the Philosopher's Stone, using a series of 15 symbols and illustrations.

A connection has been made between Islam and Egypt in a great deal more sources than one might expect, when it comes to the subject.                                                                                     

One source in particular gives further background into the probable founding of the name itself in the following passage: "...The concept is a very ancient one, which seems to answer to deep human motivations. It came to Medieval Europe by way of the Arabs. When they invaded Egypt, which they called Khem, in the seventh century, the Arabs discovered that the Egyptians were masters of the art of working in gold. They called gold-working al-kimiya - 'the art of the land of Khem' - and so, according to one account, the word 'Alchemy' was born."


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:39:32 pm







ETYMOLOGY





Chemistry (etymology)



The word Chemistry comes from the earlier study of Alchemy, which is basically the quest to make gold from earthen starting materials.
                                                                                                                                         As to the origin of the word “Alchemy” the question is a debatable one, it certainly has Greek origins, and some, following E. A. Wallis Budge, have also asserted Egyptian origins. Alchemy, generally, derives from the old French alkemie; and the Arabic al-kimia: "the art of transformation." Some scholars believe the Arabs borrowed the word “kimia” from the Greeks. Others, such as Mahdihassan, argue that its origins are Chinese. A tentative outline is as follows:


Egyptian alchemy [5,000 BC – 400 BCE]

Greek alchemy [332 BC – CE 642], the Greeks founded Alexandria and the world’s largest library

Chinese alchemy [142 CE], in the book The Kinship of the Three by Wei Boyang

Indian alchemy [200 CE-present], related to metallyrgy; Nagarjuna was an important alchemist

Islamic alchemy [642 - 1900 AD], the Arabs take over Alexandria; Jabir was the earliest chemist
 
European alchemy [1300 – Present], Saint Albertus Magnus builds on Arabic alchemy

Chemistry [1661], Boyle writes his classic chemistry text The Sceptical Chymist

Chemistry [1787], Lavoisier writes his classic Elements of Chemistry
 
Chemistry [1803], Dalton publishes his Atomic Theory



Thus, an alchemist was called a 'chemist' in popular speech, and later the suffix "-ry" was added to this to describe the art of the chemist as "chemistry".


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:49:45 pm







 SEE ALSO:





Other alchemical pages

Alchemical symbol
 
Alchemy in art and entertainment

Alembic

Alkahest

Astrology and alchemy

Berith

Jakob Boehme

Circle with a point at its centre

Duality
 
Elixir of life

Robert Fludd

Four Humors

Gold water

Hermeticism

Homunculus

Ethan Allen Hitchcock
 
Carl Jung
 
Michael Maier
 
Musaeum Hermeticum

Isaac Newton

Paracelsus

Philosopher's Stone

Quintessence

Herbert Silberer

Transmutation

Vulcan of the alchemists







 OTHER RESOURCES




List of alchemists

List of magical terms and traditions

List of occultists







RELATED AND ALTERNATIVE PHILOSOPHIES





Western mystery tradition

Internal alchemy

Astrology

Necromancy, magic, magick

Esotericism, Rosicrucianism, Illuminati

Taoism and the Five Elements
 
Asemic Writing

Kayaku-Jutsu

Acupuncture, moxibustion, ayurveda, homeopathy

Anthroposophy

Psychology and Carl Jung
 
New Age

Tay al-Ard







SUBSTANCES OF THE ALCHEMISTS




lead • tin • iron • copper • mercury • silver • gold

phosphorus • sulfur • arsenic • antimony

vitriol • cinnabar • pyrites • orpiment • galena
 
magnesia • lime • potash • natron • saltpetre • kohl

ammonia • ammonium chloride • alcohol • camphor

Acids: sulfuric • muriatic • nitric • acetic • formic • citric• tartaric
 
aqua regia • gunpowder

carmot







 SCIENTIFIC CONNECTIONS




Chemistry

Physics


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:51:52 pm







 NOTES




^ Blavatsky, H.P. (1888). The Secret Doctrine. Theosophical Publishing Company, vol ii, 238. ISBN 978-1557000026. 

^ Paracelsus. Alchemical Catechism. Retrieved on 2007-04-18.

^ Meyrink und das theomorphische Menschenbild

^ [1]Alan Tillotson, AHG, D.Ay., PhD "Safety and Regulation"

^ [2]Michael Tierra, AHG, OMD, L.Ac. Processing Chinese Herbs

^ http://www.herbalist-alchemist.com/benefits.htm

^ The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy: An Herbalist's Guide to Preparing Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs by Manfred M. Junius Healing Arts Press 1985

^ Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time - The Unexplained, Volume 1; Published by H.S. Stuttman, Inc. © Orbis Publishing Limited 1992, Westport, Connecticut.

^ [3] Mahdihassan S. "Alchemy, Chinese versus Greek, an etymological approach: a rejoinder"


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 02, 2007, 02:55:43 pm







REFERENCES





Cavendish, Richard, The Black Arts, Perigee Books
 
Gettgins, Fred (1986). Encyclopedia of the Occult. London: Rider
 
Greenberg, Adele Droblas (2000). Chemical History Tour, Picturing Chemistry from Alchemy to Modern

 Molecular Science. Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 0-471-35408-2.
 
Hart-Davis, Adam (2003). Why does a ball bounce? 101 Questions that you never thought of asking. New York: Firefly Books. 

Marius (1976). On the Elements. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02856-2.  Trans. Richard Dales.

Weaver, Jefferson Hane (1987). The World of Physics. New York: Simon & Schuster.
 
Zumdahl, Steven S. (1989). Chemistry, 2nd ed., Lexington, Maryland: D.C. Heath and Company. ISBN 0-669-16708-8. 








EXTERNAL LINKS





Wikimedia Commons has media related to:



AlchemyThe Alchemy website - Alchemy from a metaphysical perspective.
 
The al-kemi.org website - Alchemy from a spiritual/philosophical perspective.

Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
 
Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Alchemy

Antiquity, Vol. 77 (2003) - "A 16th century lab in a 21st century lab".

The Story of Alchemy and the Beginnings of Chemistry, Muir, M. M. Pattison (1913)

"Transforming the Alchemists", New York Times, August 1, 2006. Historical revisionism and alchemy.

Electronic library with some 350 alchemical books (15th- and 20th-century)

Jung and alchemy


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 03, 2007, 10:41:00 pm
           (http://www.subrosa.com.tr/internet/alcimizm/alcimizm_clip_image004_0002.jpg)

                                                    T H E   A L C H E M I S T


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 03, 2007, 10:48:24 pm



                             I S A A C   N E W T O N   -   T H E   A L C H E M I S T


                                          (http://www.alchemylab.com/newton12.GIF)


Sir Isaac Newton, the famous seventeenth-century mathematician and scientist, though not generally known as an alchemist, practiced the art with a passion. Though he wrote over a million words on the subject, after his death in 1727, the Royal Society deemed that they were "not fit to be printed." The papers were rediscovered in the middle of the twentieth century and most scholars now concede that Newton was first and foremost an alchemist.  It is also becoming obvious that the inspiration for Newton's laws of light and theory of gravity came from his alche- mical work. 

If one looks carefully, in the light of alchemical knowledge, at the definitive biography, Sir Isaac Newton by J.W.V. Sullivan, it is quite easy to realize the alchemical theories from which he was working. Sir Arthur Eddington, in reviewing this book, says: "The science in which Newton seems to have been chiefly interested, and on which he spent most of his time was Alchemy. He read widely and made innumerable experiments, entirely without fruit so far as we know." One of his servants records: "He very rarely went to bed until two or three of the clock, sometimes not till five or six, lying about four or five hours, especially at springtime or autumn, at which time he used to employ about six weeks in his laboratory, the fire scarce going out night or day. What his aim might be, I was unable to penetrate into."
                                                                                                                                                        The answer is that Newton's experiments were concerned with nothing more or less than Alchemy. (from Alchemy    Rediscovered and Restored by A. Cockren)

As a practicing Alchemist, Newton spent days locked up in his laboratory, and not a few have suggested that he finally succeeded in transmuting lead into gold. Perhaps that explains one of the oddest things about his life. At the height of his career, instead of accepting a professorship at Cambridge, he was appointed Director of the Mint with the responsibility of securing and accounting for England's repository of gold.

In fact, Newton -- the revered founder of modern science and the mechanistic universe -- also ranks as one of the greatest spiritual alchemists of all time. In his The Religion of Isaac Newton (Oxford 1974), F.E. Manuel concluded: "The more Newton's theological and alchemical, chronological and mythological work is examined as a whole corpus, set by the side of his science, the more apparent it becomes that in his moments of grandeur he saw himself as the last of the interpreters of God's will in actions, living on the fulfillment of times."


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 03, 2007, 10:50:46 pm



ISAAC NEWTON - THE ALCHEMIST                                                                         continued



(http://www.hermes3.net/images/Thoth/hermtrissilent.jpg)

The Hermetic Tradition

This view has become more accepted in recent years, as more of Newton's private papers and alchemical treatises are being reexamined. "Like all European Alchemists from the Dark Ages to the beginning of the scientific era and beyond," states Michael White in Isaac Newton:The Last Sorcerer (Addison Wesley 1997), "Newton was motivated by a deep-rooted commitment to the notion that alchemical wisdom extended back to ancient times. The Hermetic tradition -- the body of alchemical knowledge -- was believed to have originated in the mists of time and to have been given to humanity through supernatural agents." 



Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 03, 2007, 10:52:28 pm



ISAAC NEWTON-THE ALCHEMIST                                                                      continued

(http://www.hermes3.net/images/rightbtmtab.jpg)(http://www.hermes3.net/images/lefttab4.jpg)


Newton's Translation of the Emerald Tablet

"It is true without lying, certain and most true. That which is Below is like that which is Above and that which is Above is like that which is Below to do the miracles of the Only Thing. And as all things have been and arose from One by the mediation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation. The Sun is its father; the Moon its mother; the Wind hath carried it in its belly; the Earth is its nurse. The father of all perfection in the whole world is here. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into Earth. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the gross, sweetly with great industry. It ascends from the Earth to the Heavens and again it descends to the Earth and receives the force of things superior and inferior. By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world and thereby all obscurity shall fly from you. Its force is above all force, for it vanquishes every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing. So was the world created. From this are and do come admirable adaptations, whereof the process is here in this. Hence am I called Hermes Trismegistus, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished and ended."  


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 03, 2007, 10:54:33 pm





ISAAC NEWTON-THE ALCHEMIST                                                                    continued



(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/newton/images/alch-icon.jpg)

Newton on Keeping Alchemy Secret

Isaac Newton wrote fellow alchemist Robert Boyle a letter urging him to keep "high silence" in publicly discussing the Principles of Alchemy. "Because the way by the Mercurial principle may be impregnated has been thought fit to be concealed by others that have know it," Newton wrote, "and therefore may possibly be an inlet to something more noble that is not to be communicated without immense damage to the world if there be any verity in [the warning of the] Hermetic writers. There are other things besides the transmutation of metals which none but they understand."

According to B.J.T. Dobbs in "The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy" (Cambridge University Press, 1984), "The fact that Newton never published a work on Alchemy cannot be taken to mean that he knew he had failed  [at the Great Work]. On the contrary, it probably means that he had enough success to think that he might be on the track of something of fundamental importance and so had good reason for keeping his 'high silence,' even though there is nothing to indicate that he himself was searching for that mysterious "inlet to something more noble."   


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 03, 2007, 10:59:28 pm






ISAAC NEWTON-THE ALCHEMIST                                                                       continued



(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/graphics/exclusions/Supplements/enjoyengland05/neng06.jpg)


For two centuries after his death in 1727, Isaac Newton was hailed as the Supreme Scientist, a Monarch of the Age of Reason and the Initiator of the Scientific and the Industrial Revolutions, of Modernity itself.

 On one popular list of the hundred most influential people in history, Newton placed No. 2, behind Mohammed but ahead of Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                           

But In 1936 an interesting lot came on the block at Sotheby's in London containing a cache of writings by Newton -- journals and personal notebooks deemed to be "of no scientific value." The winning bidder was the economist John Maynard Keynes. After perusing his purchase, Keynes delivered a somewhat shocking lecture to the Royal Society Club in 1942, on the tercentenary of Newton's birth. "Newton was not the first of the age of reason," Keynes announced:   "He was the Last of the Magicians."

This was meant quite literally, as was a statement expressed by the poet Wordsworth that Newton had a mind "forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone." For the "Secret Writings" made it clear that during the crucial part of Newton's scientific career -- the two decades between his discovery of the Law of Gravity and the publication of his masterwork, the "Principia Mathematica" -- his consuming passion was Alchemy. Bunkered in his solitary live-in lab at the edge of the fens near Cambridge, Newton indulged in occult literature and strove to cook up the legendary "Philosopher's Stone" that would convert base metals into gold.

And a penchant for the occult was not Newton's only quirk. He is reported to have laughed just once in his life-when someone asked him what use he saw in Euclid. He took to decorating his rooms in crimson. He stuck a knife behind his eyeball to induce optical effects, nearly blinding himself. He was a Catholic-hating Puritan who secretly subscribed to the Arian Heresy, which denied the Divinity of Christ.                                                           

Newton was also given to endless feuding. He seems to have had only two romantic attachments, both with younger males, and suffered a paranoiac breakdown after the second came to rupture.

The key to Newton's Theory of Gravity was the idea that one body could attract another across empty space. To Newton's great contemporaries, Descartes and Leibniz, this notion was medieval and magical; they subscribed exclusively to "mechanical" explanations, in which bodies influenced one another only by a direct series of pushes and pulls.

Grand as it was, Newton's "Principia" left a few loose ends in the Celestial Scheme. These loose ends though were soon knit together by the so-called Newton of France, Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827). In fact, it took Laplace five thick volumes of "Celestial Mechanics" to show that the mutual gravitational tugging among the planets would not cause the solar system to crack up, as Newton feared. When he gave a couple of these volumes to his friend Napoleon shortly before the latter's Coup d'Etat, the future emperor promised to read them "in the first six months I have free."

Napoleon did glance through the volumes, for he later asked Laplace just where God fit into the perfected Newtonian system. "I had no need of that hypothesis," Laplace famously replied.

 

Source: The Wall Street Journal Bookshelf, February 19, 1998 pg. A20


Title: Re: A L C H E M Y
Post by: Bianca on August 10, 2007, 01:50:19 pm
                                                (http://www.crystalinks.com/alchemistslogo.gif)






An alchemist was a person versed in the art of alchemy, an ancient branch of natural philosophy that eventually evolved into chemistry and pharmacology. Alchemy flourished in the Islamic world during the Middle Ages, and then in Europe from the 13th to the 18th centuries. We know the names and doings of a large number of alchemists, thanks to the numerous alchemical manuscript and books that survived; some of those names are listed below. It must be kept in mind however that the vast majority of old alchemists, being self-taught and more bent on experimenting than writing, have left no trace in history.




Middle East

Geber / Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815)
Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (864-930)
Avicenna - Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (985-1037)



Classical and Roman Empire

Plato (ca. 360 BC)
Olympiodorus of Thebes (ca. 400)
Albertus Magnus (1193-1280)
Roger Bacon (1220- 1292)
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Arnald of Villanova (1240-1311)
Nicolas Flamel (1330-1418) - 5 Files
Basil Valentine (supposed 15th cent.) The 12 Keys - 2 Files
Georg Agricola (1494-1555)
Paracelsus (1493-1541]
Valentin Weigel (1533-1588) - 2 Files
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)
John Dee (1527-1608)
Edward Kelley (1555-1595)
Jacob Bohmen (1575 - 1624)
Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605)
Michal Sedziwoj (1566-1636)
Jan Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644)
Robert Boyle (1626-1691)
John Mayow (1641-1679)
Isaac Newton (1642 -1727) - 2 Files
Count Alessandro de Cagliostro (1743-1795)
Count of Saint Germain (18th Century)
Demosthenes - The Alchemist God
Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre The Archeometre (1842-1909)
Fulcanelli
Carl Jung



PORTRAITS OF NOTABLE ALCHEMISTS:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/portr_16.html

EGYPTIAN ALCHEMY
http://www.lost-civilizations.net/ancient-egyptian-science-alchemy.html

http://www.crystalinks.com/flamel.html