This fairly beefy alchemical tract (technically two tracts in multiple sections) comes from the Alchemical Museum of Waites’ time, originally penned by Sendivogius in the 1600s. It is strictly physical alchemy at work here, and strictly the more “authentic” path of the same, not like some works which are basically about just creating interesting medicines (few of which were safe!) or counterfeit currencies. Part of this work is in the form of dialogue between the alchemist and his mercury. In that sense it is vaguely like the much later work “On the Philadelphian Gold.”
Here then the major concept of alchemy, that great work, is that of the four elements, three substances, two halves (male and female) thus joined creating the perfected substance that was believed to operate much like stem cells for the mineral world, literally, a sort of primordial material that could be purified out from other things and used to project matter. Importantly, Sendivogius references what some other contemporaries do, namely that this substance, while found in gross (literally vulgar, as in composted feces, etc) matter, to try and work with that same matter improperly will benefit the sage not at all.
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And here it is; one of the most important works I never originally thought to release an edition of- the famous Fama Fraternitatis, first worked into English by Thomas Vaughan, that selfsame work which inspired occult changes in its own era and long after.
Containing a great deal of content in only a few pages, for someone like myself the most interesting inclusions are those which overlap it with the type of occult of Trithemius and Pontanus among others- with everburning lights and strange mechanisms and symbology. The Fama Fraternitatis formed the backbone of what was represented as an order so wise in its era that members could prolong human longevity to centuries, make gold, cure any disease, and speak with spirits.
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This manuscript is honestly one of the most bizarre things I have ever come across and edited within the occult. A fusion of astrology and medicine, it proposes to diagnose and help treat ailments (often outdated ones with new names) by observing the planets so forth in their movements at the time of complaint and diagnosis. It also says it can determine whether a disease is being caused by witches or demons.
Equally at home as a quack/ folk medicine work and as one purely astrological, it’s a strange but interesting fusion.