Ars Regia: The Royal Art Revisited

Gwendolyn Taunton

 

Yathā tathā dehe

As in metal, so in the body

The Ocean of Mercury 

 

alchemist, alchemyArs Regia – known more commonly as alchemy, presents itself to the world as the topic of controversy. This occurs for two primary reasons. Firstly, alchemy is viewed by some as a primitive precursor to chemistry due to the terminology used to describe certain principles, the meaning of which remains unknown to the general public as metaphors were utilized in order to disguise the true nature of the tradition. This has misled many a historian to conclude that alchemy is nothing more than a rudimentary application of the sciences. For the purposes of this article, we will assume the contrary; that alchemy is a metaphysical and gnoseological concept that deals with religious principles. The second point of disagreement occurs even when this principle is accepted, for having reached the conclusion that alchemy is not chemistry, it then becomes a necessary to define what alchemy is. To this end, should alchemy be regarded as a complete tradition or as a component of other traditions, such as Hindu, Islam, or Egyptian? For any true scholar of religion, it is impossible to ignore the fact that alchemy has at various points of history been a mystery tradition in Egypt, Greece, India, Europe, China and the Middle East. It also features significantly in symbolism in the rites of Mithras and in Hermeticism. It is precisely because of the diverse geographic spread across continents that some have been inclined to suspect that alchemy could well be a tradition is its own right and not a mere component of other more well-known traditions. One who investigated this branch of thought was Julius Evola, whom in the preface to his work The Hermetic Tradition describes alchemy thus:

The “royal” initiatory tradition, in its pure forms, can be considered the most direct and legitimate link to the unique, primordial tradition […] It is no accident that the hermetico-alchemical tradition should call itself the Royal Art, and that it chose gold as a central royal and solar symbol, which at the same time takes us back to the Primordial Tradition.[1]

This concept which Evola put forward was disagreed with by his contemporary, René Guénon, and in his review of The Hermetic Tradition in Voile d’Isis (published April 1931), Guénon openly rejects the idea that alchemy is a complete metaphysical doctrine, instead of regulating it to the ranks of a cosmological system. The basis for this rejection was that Guénon did not believe that a true tradition could have migrated from an Egypto-Hellenic origin into Islamic and Christian esotericism. He also added to this that alchemy did not occur as a complete tradition, but was instead always found integrated into other traditions, serving as an auxiliary vehicle.[2] This point of disagreement between the two authors was later repeated by Guénon in his review of Evola’s edition of Della Riviera’s Il mondo magico degli heroi.[3] Given that much of the material found in alchemical texts is based on the interplay of bipolar systems and fundamental dualism, it seems that at it is most basic level, the Royal Art could not be anything other than an inherent tradition. Nonetheless, Guénon’s objection is still valid, as it raises a single and very important issue – why is alchemy never found as a complete tradition, but instead as an esoteric or auxiliary pathway within a larger corpus of teachings? Is it naturally found in symbiotic harmony with other traditions or are there other reasons why alchemy, despite being such a widespread tradition, never became a Tradition in its own right?

Given that alchemy can be found in very similar forms in China, India, Greece, Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe at various ages and epochs throughout history it appears that the most logical explanation is also perhaps the simplest. These different branches of alchemy did not arise independently; they are intimately related at the most fundamental of levels. It has previously been put forward by scholars that the origins of alchemy could be found in Greek, Egyptian or Hebrew sources. It seems likely that the basic ideas underlying most forms of alchemy actually lay rooted in the older Vedic period, which would explain not only the wide geographic distribution of different branches of alchemy but also the similarity to Vedic cosmological structure, which we shall examine later in this article. Thus far the majority of texts on alchemy have dwelt upon material from the Occident or the Middle East. For readers who may be unfamiliar with alchemy this article with commence with a broad overview of the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian texts.

The first recorded writer to use the term alchemy in the West, was an astrologer of the 4th century, Julius Firmicus Maternus, who mentioned alchemy in the following context:

…if it is the House of Mercury, it gives Astronomy. That of Venus announces Songs and Joy. That of Mars, Arms…That of Jupiter, the Divine Cult and the Knowledge of Laws. That of Saturn, the Science of Alchemy.[4]

It is worth noting here that even at the first recorded mention of alchemy (and we are not discounting the prospect that alchemy existed prior to this record in the form of an oral tradition) is linked to the sphere of Saturn, the planet we most often find linked to lead, and subsequently transformed into gold. The transformation of lead, via a series of intermediary processes, to gold, is a widespread component of alchemical thought. In the Mysteries of Mithras lead is linked to the first step of the initiates’ ladder (assigned to Kronos, which is the Greek equivalent of the Roman Saturn). This theme in time became the basis of stories of alchemists in the Middle Ages seeking to transform ‘lead into gold.’ Other early survivals of alchemical literature, some also dating back to the 4th century, include Greek texts which include the regular figures found within the Corpus Hermeticum – Hermes Trismegistus, Agathodaimon, Asclepius, Ammon & Tat.[5]

The case for the origins of alchemy being either Egyptian or Hebraic is found in A Genuine Discourse by Sophe [Kheops] the Egyptian and by the God of the Hebrews the Lord of Powers Sabaoth: “For there are Two Sciences and Two Wisdoms: that of the Egyptians and that of the Hebrews.”[6] Though this brief sentence is taken to relate the origins of the Royal Art, it seems that is more a term of compromise on the part of Sophe/Kheops to demonstrate equality between two competing schools of alchemy. This is particularly apparent in the works of Maria, a female Hebrew scholar of alchemy from the same period, who issues a warning to those who use the Royal Art:

Do not take it in your hand. It is the Igneous Remedy. It is mortal. […] Do not touch it with your hands. You are not of the race of Abraham. You are not of our race.[7]

Zosimos, another alchemist of the period, however, claims that alchemy was not originally part of the Abrahamic Tradition, and states that their knowledge of the sacred art was achieved through fraud and then revealed.[8] If Zosimos is reliable in this account, alchemy cannot have its origins in the Hebrew tradition. At any rate, it is clear from citations that the Egyptian and Abrahamic forms of alchemy are not intended for the same audience of readers.

In 1925 a case was put forward by R. Eisler for an Assyrian document concerning the ‘maturation of metals’ to be the first recorded alchemical text, which he used as the basis of his hypothesis for a Mesopotamian origin of alchemy.[9] Since this publication there has been debate over the translation, throwing doubts on to whether this text is alchemical (in regards to ontological sense) as it may be a purely metallurgical text.[spacer height=”20px”]

The founder of Arabic alchemy is usually considered to be Jabir ibn Hayyan (c.800 AD), although there are records of alchemical texts entering into Islamic lands in the seventh century.[10] The Mayousaioi of Asia Minor, who combined Mazdean doctrines with Chaldean astrology, also taught something similar to alchemy, stating that the world was divided into seven millennia, each under a planet and bearing the name of the associated metal.[11] This is strikingly similar to the seven rungs on the ladder found in the mysteries of Mithras – seven, of course, representing the seven principal astronomical bodies, culminating with the solar and golden seventh.

Alchemy is mentioned even in early Chinese records – the earliest notion being cited in the Huai-nan Tzu, a text dated to 122 B.C.[12] The presence of this text indicates that alchemy was present in the East prior to the first records of alchemical texts in the Greco-Roman/Egyptian period. Alchemy progressed along very similar lines in China and was expounded by the likes of the famous alchemist Lü Tsu (eighth century AD) and the magician Li Chao Kuin, who served as an alchemical advisor to Emperor Wu Ti of the Han dynasty (Ssŭ-ma Chien, vol.II, p.465).[13] Alchemical thought is also present in Taoism, which like Tantrism, maps the cosmos/metals onto the human body. In the following Taoist text, cinnabar is produced by reversing the flow of sperm.

The Taoist, imitating animals and vegetables, hangs himself upside down, causing the essence of his sperm to flow up to his brain. The tan-t’ien, the ‘famous fields of cinnabar’, are to be found in the most secret recesses of the brain and belly: there it is that the embryo of immortality is alchemically prepared.[14]

The principal representative of Taoist-Zen alchemy, Ko Ch’ang Keng (also known as Po Yu Chaun) also describes the three main forms of principal alchemy in the usual manner, ascribing lead to the body, the heart to mercury and ‘dhyana’ as the medium that gives fire. Like the Western alchemists of the Middle Ages, he also mentions the gestation period of forty weeks, alluding of course to the period required for a human child to form. This has led some to make the obvious connection between the human reproductive process and alchemical claims such as this. It is, however, wise at this point to remember one thing – these texts are meant for the initiated; their meaning is intentionally obscured to non-initiates. It is wise therefore to assume that the great secret of alchemy is not the mere impregnation of a human female. It is instead, like the above Taoist citation a reference to a metaphysical operation within the body of the (usually) male practitioner concerning the ‘distillation’ of sperm into a ‘soma’ like substance. This comparison to the Vedic concept of soma should become clearer after consideration of the Tantric alchemical texts.

Firstly, why is it important to examine Tantric/Siddha alchemy in order to determine if alchemy does indeed qualify as a tradition in its own right? This is important for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that India is mentioned as a source for alchemical knowledge in the same era as the composition of the Greco-Roman-Egyptian texts. Ostares, for example, mentions in ‘The Twelve Chapters’ that he found three alchemical inscriptions about the source of alchemical knowledge – one in Egyptian, the second in Persian and the third in Indian (Sanskrit).[15] Also notable is the fact that Demokritus, one of the most famous alchemists was reported by Doidoros to have traveled widely, even leaving his native Ionian colony Abdera for the shores of India.[16] If India did not develop alchemy independently of the Greeks and Egyptians this incident of a visit from Demokritus is enough to suggest that he could have transmitted the teachings to India himself. There are therefore at least two accounts that attest to communication between India and Greece on alchemical matters, which is enough to suggest that due to contact there will be similarities in the teachings.

Surprising as it may seem to some, the majority of alchemical texts in India are found within the Tantras. A serious study of Tantrism will reveal a vast number of alchemical texts which are virtually identical in content to the teachings transmitted by the Greeks and Egyptians. One of the most important sources for this is the Rasārnava or Ocean of Mercury which is largely concerned with what it refers to as rasavidyā or the mercurial science. Early on in the work, the author deliberately draws a dividing line between this branch of Tantrism and the Tantrikas who advocate sexual practices (Tantric sexual practice is in fact restricted to a small percentage of Left Hand Path branches of the Tantric religious genus – most Tantrics do not use this technique) stating that:

If liberation came from utilizing one’s semen, wine and excrements, which of the races of dogs and swine would not be liberated? (Ocean of Mercury, 11-13).[17]

This is a clear indication to the fact that the author believes that the branches of Tantrism employing sexual techniques are inferior; moreover the statement is even more revealing about the author’s thoughts if one takes into account that the statement ‘races of dogs’ is probably not utilized in reference to animals, but is perhaps a caste slur, as the dog was originally classified as an ‘impure’ animal by traditional Vedic society – the lowest of the traditional caste hierarchy was attributed to the impure caste known as ‘dog-cookers’.[18] The author, having separated his branch of Tantrism from others, then proceeds to elaborate on the wonders that arise from the study of the mercurial science.

When swooning, mercury, like the breath, carries off diseases, when killed, It arises from the dead; when bound, it affords the power of flight. (Ocean of Mercury)[19]

References here found to the ‘swooning’ and ‘killing’ of mercury refer to processes known to the initiated or scholars of alchemy. These practices are comparable to the ‘mortification’ and ‘nigredo’ found in Western alchemical texts. This is also cited in the Survarna Tantra which affirms that by eating ‘killed mercury’ (nasta-pista), man becomes immortal; a small quantity of this ‘killed mercury’ can also change lead to gold.[20] Likewise in the Kubijka Tantra, Shiva speaks of mercury as his generating principle and lauds its efficiency when it has been ‘fixed’ (i.e. killed) six times.[21] The same terms are employed in Western texts – it is, however, unfortunate that we cannot compare the techniques practiced by the initiates in this regard. What is striking here though is that the exact same terminology can found in alchemical works from the occident. Mercury also features strongly in other Tantric texts, being associated with the God Shiva. The Rudrayamâlâ Tantra refers to Shiva as the God of Mercury.[22] The Greeks also stressed the importance of mercury in their teachings; its early Greek name, hyrdargyros, meant silverwater; the latin term, argentums vivum, meant living silver.[23] Similar material can also be found in Tibetan Tantrism in which the Siddha Nāgārjuna is sometimes referred to as an alchemist. It was said by Tarānātha that with the “art of alchemy he (Nāgārjuna) maintained for many years five hundred teachers of the Mahāyāna doctrine at Śri Nalendra.”[24]

Having established that alchemy was at one time prevalent in very similar forms in a diverse range of geographic locations, it becomes as a matter of necessity to establish why this has occurred. There can only be two plausible explanations for this – one, that alchemy, as Evola says, is a tradition in its own right. The second prospect that must be considered is that the alchemy teachings were at some time transmitted to all of these different locales. Most of the primordial symbolism which can be found in ancient religions such as paganism/heathenism and shamanic traditions is readily traceable to Vedic/Pre-Vedic Indo-European material. Alchemy is no exception to this rule. The first reference which is specific to alchemy from the Vedic period is easily located in the Atharva Veda (11.3.1-2, 7,8).

Brhaspati is the head, Brahman the mouth, heaven and earth the ears, Sun and moon the eyes, the Seven Seers the in-and-out- breath […] Dark metal its flesh, red metal its blood, tin its ash, gold its complexion.[25]

This theme of identification with the body of cosmos being composed of minerals is also repeated in the Śatapatha Brāmana (6.1.3. 1-5). What is also notable about this passage is that it alludes to the fact that the refinement process that transforms the substance via a series of steps to gold, is produced by means of an ‘inner heat’ which is clearly a reference to the process of tapas, an element of yogic teaching. Also notable here is the connection between tapas and alchemy, as mentions of the ‘inner fire’ are also to be found in Western alchemy. Pernety, for example, says that “The Opus is accomplished neither by (vulgar) Fire nor by the hands but only by means of the inner heat”.[26] It is also found in some form or another in all religious traditions of Indo-European origin.

Verily, Prajāpati alone was here, in the beginning, he desired “May I exist, may I reproduce myself.” He toiled, he heated himself with an inner heat. From his exhausted an overheated body the waters flowed forth…from those heated waters foam arose; from the heated foam there arose clay; from the heated clay; from the heated sand, grit; from the heated grit, rock; from the heated rock, metallic ore; and from the smelted ore, gold arose.[27]

Not only are passages such as these to be found within Vedic sources, the symbolism employed in alchemy and Hermeticism is purely Vedic in origin. The production of tapas (inner heat) as seen mentioned above, is produced by control of the breath – this is identical with the fact that one of the key concepts of Greek alchemy was that of pneuma, which translates as ‘breath’. The staff of Hermes, which plays a central role in Hermeticism and alchemy, is also empowered with Vedic symbolism. That the Caduceus is an alchemical symbol is verified by the following passage from Epiketos the Stoic (A. D. 50-130). “The power of the staff of Hermes lies in the fact that it changes all that it touched into gold.”[28] With its body shaped as winding serpents, atop with the wings of a bird, it is virtually alive with mythological metaphors. The conflict of the bird and serpent is one of the oldest and most widespread of myths which stem from Vedic sources – symbolic of the battle between Garuda the sun bird (on whom myths of the phoenix are based), and the serpent descendants of Kadru, are representative of a conflict between chthonic power and heavenly power. When the two symbols are employed together as they are in the staff of Hermes, it indicates that one has ‘ascended’ and combined the two polarities of heaven and earth. In both Vedic and Tantric texts, the word ‘hamsa’ is sometimes employed to symbolize the heaven bound energies and is often used by authors wishing to discuss the movements of the prāna (vital breath), which is etymologically identical to the Greek pneuma as was earlier discussed. The Rig Veda (4.40.5) calls ether (Kha) the “seat” of the hamsa, and a series of later sources, continuing down to the Tantras, identifies in-breathing and out-breathing with the syllables ham and sah.[29] The correspondences between the serpents found on the Caduceus to the Vedic and Tantric sources are no less remarkable, and despite René Guénon’s objection that alchemy was not a tradition in its own right, were mentioned by him in The Great Triad.

Yet another identical motif is the two serpents of the caduceus. This is related to the general symbolism of the serpent in its two mutually opposing aspects; and viewed from this angle, the double spiral itself can also be regarded as portraying a serpent coiled around itself in two opposite directions. The serpent in question will, therefore, be an ‘amphis baera’ – its two hands corresponding to the two poles, and equivalent to itself to the two opposing serpents of the caduceus combined.[30]

Though Guénon does not mention the striking similarity to Tantric symbolism employed here, he is undoubtedly aware of this, as is indicated another passage from the same work which states that:

The most notable example is the portrayal of the forces by two helicoidal lines coiling in opposite directions around a vertical axis […] Within the human being, these two lines are the two nadis or subtle currents – right and left, positive and negative (ida and pingala).[31]

By calling these two forces by their Tantric names, ida and pingala, the identification of the Caduceus with the Tantric system is explicit, and in light of these passages, it seems odd that Guénon did not accept Evola’s hypothesis that alchemy was a tradition in its own right. There are in the Tantric system, three channels in which Kundalini (the Serpent power) is thought to make its ascent – two of these are the nādī ida and pinagla, and the third is the Susuma – frequently referred to as the central or ‘royal’ channel. During the ascent of Kundalini, she passes through the lower chakras until she reaches the crown Chakra, which she is said to ‘penetrate’). This crown chakra is known as the Sahasrara, located at the suture on the crown where the two parietal bones meet. A similar depiction of this can be found in the tomb of Ramses VI in Egypt, where a figure is portrayed holding a staff topped with two horns, with twin snakes wriggling across the staff. The horns which top the staff are called Wpt, “summit of the skull, to open, divide, separate” – the parietal bones are thought of as an opening to release the reborn dead.[32] This notion of the ‘dead’ departing the body via means of an esoteric process, is also known to the Tibetan Tantrics, where explicit instructions can be found for the initiate to escape his mortal body during the dying process by this exact same opening on the crown of the skull. This is the highest level of instruction of the Tibetan Buddhist School and is taught in full to the guru’s successor only, before the death of the guru. Partial instructions for this process are found within the Six Yogas of Naropa.

Further correlations between Tantra and Egyptian myth can be seen in the Imakh which appears in the alchemical context.

Imakh (Blessed) in its ending and especially in its determinative is represented by the spinal column with an indication of the medulla; the ending also denotes canal or channel of the spine of the snake through Which the sun passes […] So the one symbol brings together the ideas of Blessedness, Spine, Spinal canal, (and of the Sun).[33]

From these examples, it is clear that there is at the very least, grounds for comparison between Tantra, Hermeticism, and Egyptian alchemy. When one considers the teachings of esoteric Tantra, instead of the basic iconography of Kundalini’s passage through the Chakras the correlations become even more astonishing – the symbolism of the serpent in these texts is widely employed as a signifier for a system that is crowned by an ethereal bird; the lowest metal in the alchemical hierarchy is lead, most commonly called nāga, “serpent” or sīsa[ka], an allomorph of the name of the cosmic serpent Śesa, or more rarely, ahirāja, “Serpent King”.[34] The symbolism of lead here is not only identified with the serpent but also with alchemy and the lowest chakra. The bird/serpent opposition in Tantric alchemy is found at it’s most explicit in the sixteenth-century Rasakāmadhenu, which identifies gold at the summit of the system and the seed of Vāsuki (King of a mythic race of serpents, from whose semen lead is first obtained).[35] This apparent opposition is also readily traced back to the Vedic dichotomy of Vana (forest/nature) and Ksetra (culture – also caste and organization). It possible that this dichotomy is also echoed in the quarrel between the Norse Vanir and Æsir, for not only does the myth appear to relate this, the terms themselves also appear to be etymologically similar. The Norse depiction of Yggdrasil, topped by an eagle and guarded by Nidhogg is also clearly related to this Vedic symbolism, as are many other myths of Indo-European origin.

In further comparison of Tantric iconography with alchemy and Hermeticism, one passage from Olympiodoros on Hermes Trismegistos (one of the key figures in the tradition) is especially revealing:

Hermes imagines man as a microcosm. All that the macrocosm contains, He also contains […] the macrocosm has sun and moon, man has two eyes, and the right eye is related to the sun, the left eye to the moon.[36]

This idea is also repeated in the following quotations of the Egyptians:

The Egyptians compare the Sun to a king and to the right eye.” (Sextus Empiricus) ; “The Sun rules the heart…and the right-hand vision of man, the left hand of woman.” (Porphyrios).[37]

The idea of casting bipolar symbolism onto the body is also echoed in Hindu thought, which commonly makes the same association: man as solar and the right, woman as lunar and the left. Even more specifically the Left-Hand path of Tantra is thought of as lunar and is often termed as ‘woman worship’ because of its emphasis on the role of the Goddess or Devi. The reference to it as being the ‘Left Hand’ mode of worship arises from the fact that in traditional Hinduism, woman is seated to the left of her husband. The importance of lunar cycles is also more relevant in Left Hand Tantra, which places great emphasis on this for the practice of magical rites and rituals. It is also of note that the aforementioned bipolar channels, ida and pingala, represent the solar and lunar paths within the body – one being the solar right, the other the lunar left.

Given the range of correspondences between different branches of alchemy in a wide variety of geographical locations and different eras of history, its seems unlikely that alchemy could be anything other than a tradition, if not one of the original, primordial traditions as it was referred to by Julius Evola. The true nature of Guénon’s critique, however, rested in his belief that alchemy was not a tradition in its own right, but was instead a universal cosmological system. This ignores the fact that the goal of alchemy was always spiritual – it was to mirror the macrocosm in the human body, to ‘become God’ so to speak. This is reflected in its links with Yoga (Tapas), which takes it name from the meaning ‘to yoke’ oneself to God. Thus, when Evola referred to alchemy as a ‘primordial tradition’ it seems likely that he had at least suspected that the origins of alchemy lay so deeply entrenched in the Vedic or pre-Vedic past that they had infiltrated all of the world’s major traditions to some extent. Tantrism, in regards to the branches which deal with the mercurial science alone, is almost identical with other alchemical sources from the Greeks and Egyptians, and they definitely teach a system of ‘higher being’ which is the hallmark of a genuine tradition. What is less obvious though is that this is, in essence, a lost teaching – because of the esoteric nature of its rites, it can only be reconstructed in a ‘piecemeal’ process, placing one jigsaw piece here, another there, in order to discover the real nature of the alchemical tradition. With the addition to this of the Tantric alchemical texts, which are not yet available to the western world in full translation, it will hopefully become possible for the genuine practices of the mercurial science to be reconstructed. What is certain however is that alchemy is a tradition, an extremely ancient one whose teachings hold direct connections with the most fundamental concepts of Vedic thought, to which one cannot help but apply the term ‘primordial’.

 

[1] Julius Evola, trans. E.E. Rehmus, The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art (Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1995), xvii.

[2] Ibid., x.

[3] Ibid., x.i

[4] Jack Lindasy, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, (London: Fredrick Muller Ltd, 1970), 60.

[5] Brian P. Copenhauer, Hermetica, (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1992), xvi

[6] Ibid., 73.

[7] Ibid., 73.

[8] Ibid., 73.

[9] Mircea Eliade, trans. Stephen Corrin, The Forge & the Crucible: The Origins & Structure of Alchemy, (New York: Herper Torchbook , 1971) 71.

[10] Brian P. Copennauer, Hemetica, xlvi.

[11] Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, 26.

[12] Mircea Eliade, The Forge & The Crucible: the Origins & Structure of Alchemy, 51.

[13] Ibid., 113.

[14] Ibid., 117.

[15] Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, 150.

[16] Ibid., 93.

[17] David Gordon White, ‘Ocean of Mercury’, in Tantra in Practice, ed. David Gordon White, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000) 284.

[18] For more information on cynocephali in Vedic myth, see David Gordon White’s Myths of the Dog Man, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

[19] David Gordon White, Ocean of Mercury, 284.

[20] Mircea Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible: the Origins and Structure of Alchemy, 133.

[21] Ibid. 133.

[22] Ibid., 133.

[23] Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, 29.

[24] David Gordon White, The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions In Medieval India, (Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press, 1996), 76.

[25] Ibid., 12.

[26] Julius Evola, The Hermetic Tradition, 142.

[27] Ibid., 12.

[28] Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, 33.

[29] David Gordon White, The Alchemical Body, 215.

[30] Rene Guénon, The Great Triad, (Cambridge: St. Edmundsbury Press, 1991) 38.

[31] Ibid., 38.

[32] Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, 191.

[33] Ibid., 191.

[34] David Gordon White, The Alchemical Body, 215.

[35] Ibid. 215.

[36] Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Greco-Roman Egypt, 175.

[37] Ibid., 185.

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