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.
This work by Francis Bacon was left incomplete in a fairly obvious nod to Plato, who similarly forsook his own tale of Atlantis mid-sentence, possibly for effect. Bacon’s work here is notable in the occult sense for two basic reasons.
First; the work dwells primarily on the spiritual character of the mythical people of Bensalem and a few of their rites, and might be ascribed as an allusion to how christian society ought to operate much as Plato’s account is often seen as a description of how classical society should do the same in its era.
Second; Bacon speculates on technology and arranges it in such a way that he is almost making a series of predictions of what man would eventually be able to do; on most counts he was not only right but spot on- from the development of smokeless gunpowder and human flight, to advanced optics and microscopy among other things.
The entire work is delivered in such a form that it may be said to have alchemical overtones as well, dwelling on the very same processes of purification (in a mundane sense) that alchemists ascribed to their own practice.
This work is quite interesting; written by Edward Kelly (sometimes spelled ‘Kelley’) while he was under imprisonment (either for murder or for failing to make gold using alchemy!) it is a discourse proving, he believes, several alchemical principles he held at the time, by referring to other parties’ works; philosophers, alchemical authors, and works of alchemy of both known and unknown origin; the Rosary, the Turba, and many others.
The main overarching principle is quite clear and not veiled at all, possibly because Kelly wished to escape the dungeons of Rudolph II: That gold, silver, and mercury, and those in their elemental forms, are the only materials used within the main great work of alchemy. Kelly allows one exception; the work of Saturn, the creating of elixir using lead and/or antimony a-la Hollandus. Under duress, or apparently so, Kelly created a short but monumentally clear work containing little of the ambiguity of most contemporary chemical works.
The Turba Philosophorum is one of the foremost philosophical and alchemical texts of all time; probably comparable in popularity to the Rosarium Philosophorum.
It is delivered in the form of a dialogue between various great antiquated minds in science and philosophy, despite the fact that it was created no earlier than perhaps the late 800sAD and probably in the early 900s. It expounds and elaborates upon alchemical principles and truths that would become commonplace centuries later in virtually all Renaissance era works of this type.
I utilized Waite’s (now public domain) translation of this work, and modernized it completely, significantly improving the formerly cramped format of the same.
Here are three short works of alchemy compiled together, for the purpose of length; each one was too short to release on its own. That being said, it’s one of the most significant possible triplicities of alchemical lore that could possibly be released at all.
It contains “The Immortal Liquor Alkahest” of Philalethes, “Everburning Lights” by Trithemius, and “Philosophic Fire” by Pontanus. Philalethes’ work, in the form of question and answer, spells out what alkahest is, where it comes from, and how to obtain it (namely, from human blood and urine.) Trithemius’ work is ascribed to him but was made later, containing the simplistic backstory that Trithemius gave a scrip to someone whom the author met with, discovering the secret of creating phosphorescent lamps which could give off light for thousands of years. The third text, by Pontanus, is itself a key of alchemy- namely because it is the only text to tell the reader the nature of alchemical fire and where to research it (specifically, they are recommended to read Artephius’ work.) With these three texts combined, alchemy becomes substantially easier to understand.
“On the Philadelphian Gold” is mostly a Socratic-style dialogue related to philosophy as opposed to alchemy, but it is an alchemical work nonetheless, insofar as it relates to the several types of matter and body posited to exist by one member of this same dialogue; Philadelphus, speaking with the materialistic Philochrysis on the topic of spiritual gold.
This work was made by the Philadelphian Society many centuries ago. This edition has been rendered from older English usage to mostly modern English, save for a few references which have no other proper counterpart.