This manuscript concerns the chemical components of alchemy more than the actual crafting of any sorcerers’ stone or elixir itself; indeed, it is the general recipe for the precursor materials needed to work the great work itself. The formula is fairly explicit but most of the secondary content used to “prove” the point is religious in nature and heavily metaphorical. Overall, a fine alchemical work of note, from one of the less well known figures within the period. It is slightly similar to some of Hollandus’ work.
This exceedingly short tract is of note for two reasons; its author and its early date for the content. Crafted at the dawn of the 17th century, it is the first anti-smoking tract, and was penned by none other than King James I himself, of “Daemonologie” fame.
Dwelling on both the humors and then-modern medical lore as well as the spiritual implications of smoking (it being according to his view a sin on several levels), the tract attempts to convince the population of James’ time and lands to give up smoking except as a limited medicinal material, sarcastically declaring it miraculous that the same plant can cure sometimes congenitally opposed conditions.
Talk about an early Yule gift; Createspace saw fit to finally accept and process this submission two months later; I have to assume whoever had it on hold quit their job or there was a glitch in the system.
This short work is alchemical in nature; it appears to adapt and retell “A Work of Saturn” by Hollandus and describes the crafting and augmenting of the philosophers’ stone to create elixir- a sort of metallic substance that melts like wax at low heat (or in contact with silver) and can be dissolved in wine or injected into wounds- that this substance is a sort of mercurial compound renders it perhaps less favorable in modern medicine, although I suppose it could destroy infections.
Now comes the first of at least three works on demonology which I intend to edit and release in the wake of King James’ own Demonology; this time, a Catholic rather than Protestant work, which appears to be a rough counterpart to (and at several points a refutation of) the Protestant Demonological tradition.
The text covers, in quite a bit of detail, the nature of incubi and succubi in an elemental and physical sense, their relative status as beings, relates several specific tales of their amorous passion or their violent nature, then proceeds to speak of literal demonic necrophilia in which a corpse has been requisitioned by an incubus for nocturnal purposes; unlike King James’ work, which refutes the concept that such unions produced children, Sinistrari believes that they can, and that often the resultant offspring were essentially lesser Nephilim, spawned (as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and others supposedly were) not by mortal man but by “gods” which Sinistrari considers a reference to the demonic. Helpfully, the original author clears up an apparent confusion over whether sex with corpses possessed by demons is a form of bestiality; he claims that it is merely an act of spiritual pollution punishable only by urging repentance- a rather tolerant stance for the era.
In the strangest twist of all, he then claims that demonic entities, at least those of certain types, are actually capable of being killed physically by humans, and of also repenting of their sins and gaining entry to paradise.
Originally a Renaissance work in Latin, Father Sinistrari’s Demoniality was translated into English in the 1870s by Isidore Liseux. Liseux’ version retained the Latin and contained several lengthy advertisement pages as well as a post-preface ramble on the work which did very little to illuminate it (all of this material I have omitted as useless.)