The Medieval Alchemists and their Royal Art
The result of more than ten years of extensive research, ALCHEMY presents a spectacular account of the 'work' of the medieval alchemists, the so-called opus alchymicum. Besides being the founders of modern chemistry, the alchemists developed a symbolic kind of chemistry, aimed at producing the gold of mystical illumination. This religious search, which was probably supported by the alchemists' synthesis of various hallucinogenic drugs, resulted in a mystical system for man's salvation of his soul and ultimate reunion with his divine source.
The system was made up of a system of rituals and symbols, doctrines and procedures, which were guarded with the utmost secrecy and which finally disappeared with the decline of alchemy in the seventeenth century. For the first time, this sunken treasure of medieval culture is unearthed and recreated by the author in a fascinating work of literary archaeology, presenting the alchemical work in its uninterrupted sequence, from its chaotic beginning to its solar conclusion and apotheosis. The book includes a wealth of alchemical pictures, many of them reproduced here for the first time, and what emerges is the definitive study of one of the greatest achievements of medieval European civilization.