download Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy on ✓ FREE SHIPPING This book is equivalent to a 5th or 6th grade class book for Hogwarts. Editorial Reviews. Review. Robert has created a work for the ages in this book -- a true classic. Filled with many useful examples and explanations, I rank this. Real Alchemy book. Read 18 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A ground-breaking modern manual on an ancient art, Real Alchemy draws.

Real Alchemy Book

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The practice of Real Alchemy is inherently dangerous. Formal his book is a revelation of the genuine craft of alchemy as it was meant to be practiced. Real Alchemy is an easy to understand manual in Practical Alchemy. It explores the History of Alchemy to the present day, as well as practical. One of the few practicing alchemists in the modern era, Robert Allen Bartlett explains of that for yourself after reading the new book on Alchemy - Real Alchemy.

In translating this work into a more accessible idiom, Principe has produced a work that is eminently readable and that sacrifices none of its critical edge or erudition and one that features a heavy index and bibliography for those looking for more than its pages has to offer.

In the Leiden Papyrus, which dates from the third century A. Put them together into a vessel. Add sharp vinegar or the urine of a youth; heat from underneath until the liquid looks like blood. Filter it from the sediments, and use it pure. Keep the silver in the mixture for long enough and it will seem, to an untrained eye, that you have turned silver into gold — though Principe notes that he found, after some trial and error, urine works far better than vinegar.

You have to admire an author who cooks with his own urine for the sake of research. Give the eggs to toads, who will hatch them into chicks with serpent tails and will eventually mature into basilisks.

The basilisks are kept in kettles buried underground and then incinerated, their ashes constituting the necessary powder. These two recipes — one relatively practical, one fantastic and absurd — represent the variety and difficulty of coming to grips with alchemy. There must also exist some body of theory that provides an intellectual framework, that undergirds and explains practical work, and that guides pathways for the discovery of new knowledge. This, too, was by design.

What Is Alchemy? Origins and Myths Alchemy itself begins in the 3rd century A. D, its only known precedents before then being practical trade manuals. These trade manuals are interesting, because they chiefly deal in the art of imitating precious goods such as gold, silver, gems, and expensive dyes or other cosmetics. Alchemy is defined as its own separate field by two major events. The first is the development of a central goal, chrysopoeia, or the creation of gold.

While we don't know exactly when this happened, we can only assume that at some point the idea occurred to people that instead of merely imitating gold, why not attempt creation of the real thing? How this was meant to work, is that instead of merely coloring something to look like gold, a transmuting agent might be found that can give 'base' metals all the other properties of gold too.

The second major event was the meeting of practical Egyptian artisan literature and abstract Greek philosophy. One of the first myths Principe sets out to bust is that the alchemists worked as empirics, throwing random combinations together in the hopes they will stumble across transmutation.

While it's easy to make that criticism from the outside, the alchemists themselves certainly had a sense of their work being guided by at least some theoretical foundations. Another common myth is that alchemy did not involve very much chemical practice. This is a modern reinterpretation of earlier texts, fueled by their common presentation to readers as ciphers.

The reasons for employing ciphers varied, but among the most common is the tendency for alchemists to be suppressed by rulers for threatening to upend the economic order. Concerns about fraud and forgery, in addition to the actual upset of gold supplies would dog the subject in its earliest stages until its fall off in popularity during the 18th century.

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Scholars in the modern period encountered these ciphers, and concluded that the ostensible nonsense must mean that alchemy was about something other than practical lab work.

In Chapter Six, Principe discusses replicating alchemical experiments in the modern laboratory, and provides a tutorial on decoding enigmatic texts. The first major theoretical direction for alchemy was based on the observation that certain metals could be colored so that they mimic the appearance of gold.

Witnessing this action, alchemists such as Zosimos sought a tincture which would allow transmutation. Zosimos was an alchemist who lived around the year A.

Their research program was based closely on the mechanisms of action that can tint metals. He cites the material of earlier practitioners often, giving the impression of a thriving alchemical 'scene' in his era. Importantly, even in these early writings we witness the use of secrecy. Secrecy had already been a part of the trade literature, because they were trade secrets of artisans that had real economic value. Zosimos takes this tradition even further, employing Decknamen, or cover names for materials which would be discernible to a practitioner but difficult for outsiders to interpret.

He also employed literary narratives, describing chemical processes in the form of allegorical 'dreams'. These dreams are a common feature for mystical revisionists to latch onto, as their esoteric and ostensibly revelatory nature implies the supernatural. The stone is a legendary substance said to be capable of transmuting all base metals into gold.

In the tenth century Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani tells the tale of a Muslim ambassador visiting Constantinople. There he witnesses the transmutation of lead into silver and copper into gold by two transmuting agents, one white for silver and another red for gold. These two agents would come to be known as the basic appearance of the Philosophers Stone. Critically, most seekers after the stone believed that it had already been created. This caused the curious situation where by the golden age of alchemy in Europe, the 'final steps' to making the Philosophers Stone were well known.

The debate was about which ingredients to use and how to prepare them. Of course, we do not have any compelling evidence the stone ever existed beyond eyewitness accounts. In these final steps, the alchemist is to take the substance which forms the stone and place it into a Philosophical Egg.

The Egg was a beaker with an 'oval body and a long neck'. The beaker is then completely sealed and heated, a process which should immediately strike anyone with chemical experience as carrying a high risk of explosion. Indeed, many such vessels did explode. Once the aspiring chrysopoeian has managed to steadily heat the vessel without its explosion for forty days, the mixture should turn black. This blackness is the first sign one has succeeded in finding the right mixture for the stone.

Next one must continue heating at a constant temperature, a task that is trivial with modern electrical equipment, but in those days meant grueling work beside the furnace, using uniformly sized blocks of wood or charcoal and careful intuition, as even thermometers did not yet exist.

Eventually in some weeks the substance should turn white, at which point it may be used to transmute silver.

The red stone however requires further heating. Regardless, the stone must then be mixed with real gold or silver, and given Philosophical Mercury to allow it penetration of solid metals. Finally, the alchemist may test their creation by mixing the stone with melted base metal in a furnace to produce silver or gold. This last step is known as 'projection', and would thus come to represent disappointment in contemporary popular culture. Beyond its ability to practically achieve chrysopoeia, the legendary stone gained further mythological powers as time went on.

An alchemist writing under the name of Lull for example, conceived of the stone as a universal healer. They said it held the ability to 'heal' lesser metals into perfect gold, cure all illness, and turn lesser gems into precious stones.

From a modern physical perspective there's no good reason to expect all three of these things from the same substance, but it presumably seemed plausible to pre-modern ears.

This addition to the myth is a large part of alchemy's and by extension later chemistry's association with medicine. Critically, Western alchemists did not believe that the stone would grant eternal life. Rather, by healing all illness the stone would prolong life to its natural span. Alchemical Practice and Thought Who practiced alchemy? One of the most important points to understand about alchemists, which Principe stresses over and over, is that alchemists were probably no more mystical or religious or unempirical than other contemporary disciplines of their time.

Given the premise that alchemy was about discovering a physical substance which has a physical action on metals, it's not surprising that actual alchemists relied on a great deal of practical laboratory work for their investigations. Alchemy then was usually practiced among intellectual experimentalists, artisans, get-rich-quick schemers, and counterfeiters.

Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy

As previously mentioned, the latter group created much trouble for alchemists. A common accusation leveled at alchemy was that it encouraged fraud by getting peoples hopes up about impossible promises of riches, then incentivizing them towards counterfeiting once it becomes clear that they're not making significant progress in achieving real transmutation. Leo Africanus, a freed slave surveying North Africa for the pope wrote negatively of alchemists he encountered in Fez, Morocco.

He describes a group of people that stink of sulfur, gathering around the local mosque at night to debate methods of achieving the stone. Meanwhile their actual trade is in illicit counterfeit currency, a crime for which most of those convened at the mosque have had their hands removed. The tone of this book is informative with excitement from the author's voice.

Personally, I loved this book, I think it had everything I was looking for, for my introduction to the alchemical arts.

There was nothing too complex where just thinking about it didn't make sense of it. I think it was well written well voiced, extremely well researched and well explained. The book answered all the initial question I had about alchemy and helped develop new questions theories and ideas, it also tied up loose ends.

I would recommend this book for anyone who would want to learn what alchemy really is, and start a journey on the path to a modern day alchemist.

And also abolish the negative untrue stereotypes about Alchemy. This book was written so that if anyone who picks it up they can immediately jump into reading it and could relate to if they have an open mind and have the desire to learn, I don't believe that was the main focus, I believe the author did that without realization of that fact, and simply wrote to explain to students young and old.

My favorite part of this book was the history, the application and the exclamation of alchemy. Also the quotes were super interesting, and still had relevance today.

I can't say that I had a least favorite part of the book, the author covered a lot of material in just a few chapters, compared to what explaining alchemy consists of.

If I could change anything about this book. It would be how little the author writes about his personal journey, and the if the applications for the processes described where more in-depth, along with the author's personal take on each practice described.

Although I understand, they were more focused on what alchemy is and what it can do, I would have liked to been able to look through a keyhole of what the author has experienced. There are illustrations and diagrams in this book, which the diagrams are extremely useful and helpful for better understanding.

But the illustrations are mostly there for Aesthetic, and are just interesting to have in the book. I have and would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a foundation to alchemy, it's simple to understand, everything's black and white for the reader and for learning the material, there is no beating around to get to the big picture.


I think the type of reader who would enjoy this book is one that wants to learn, who is willing to put in the time to understand and dissect it. Anyone who i would recommend this book to would also have to be very open minded, there are a lot of concepts in the book that are going to seem outrageous and impossible, to have happened or be able to have happened. Jan 31, Hans rated it really liked it. Alchemy is not what most people think. I'll leave it at that.

This book is a great start for anyone wishing to learn about the obscure art of Alchemy. My only complaint is that it concentrates more on practical applications than on theoretical ideas.

I would have loved to know what the "medical uses" are for some of these tinctures, or how to ingest them for example. Are they formulated into pills or made into potions? However, I'm glad I found such a source to begin with, and I would definitely be exploring the subject more deeply. Nov 01, Elizabeth Kolodziej rated it it was amazing.

This book is just.. It really helped me when I was writing my second book sequel to Vampyre Kisses. This book is so informative! It gives not only the history of Alchemy but explains how Alchemy works today and gives a few home recipes you can try. On top of this the author himself is so helpful! He actually teaches this in the classroom! If only I lived in Washington.

This book gives some very detailed accounts of the practice of the Art. The style is simple and clear. Nov 10, Edric Unsane rated it it was amazing Shelves: A very good look at practical Alchemy. If you are interested in the process which led to modern chemistry, then this is the book for you. Feb 26, Suzanna Marlow rated it it was amazing.

A wonderful primer on practical alchemy that is clear and concise. This is my second read through, and I learn something new every time.

Mar 09, David rated it really liked it. I read this book because I wanted to understand the origins of alchemy. I wanted to separate the metaphysical fluff from the legitimate scientific implications and practices. I feel like the book met my expectations and then went deeper into the details of practicing modern alchemy.

I enjoyed the first chapter that discussed the origins of alchemy in the ancient world, I wish there was more of this content. The next two chapters completely lost me and almost tempted me to abandon the book. The lo I read this book because I wanted to understand the origins of alchemy. The low point was chapter 3 on the connection between alchemy and astrology. This chapter completely alienated me and threatened my promise to suspend disbelief and approach with book with an open mind as the author began to discuss that certain alchemical preparations were more effective if done in alignment with specific planets or moon phases.

There were many scientifically weak statements that for me undercut the credibility of the author. For instance: Its magnetic influence draws things up" The phrase "draws things up" especially irritated me. More in depth than "draws things up".Its hold over alchemy was strong even after there was little need for it. But still, a good read for a good start I think. Their interpretations and ideas about alchemy are the ones which have ultimately passed down to us in the modern day.

Readers also enjoyed. An alchemist writing under the name of Lull for example, conceived of the stone as a universal healer. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience.