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Al-Kemi: Hermetic, Occult, Political and Private Aspects of R.A.Schwaller De Lubicz [Paperback]

Andre Vandenbroeck

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Book Description

9 Jun 1905
Al-Kemi recounts the story of the eighteen months that Andre VandenBroeck spent in daily contact with the remarkable French philosopher, hermeticist, and Egyptologist, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961). It provides a passionately felt, personal, and dramatic introduction to the startling world of this contemporary alchemist. Structured like a mystery and distilled in the crucible of memory for fifteen years, Al-Kemi provides a passionately felt, personal, and dramatic introduction to the startling world of this twentieth-century alchemist.

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'This passionate and brilliant book shows de Lubicz to be a source of revolutionary insight... VandenBroeck deals forthrightly and bravely... with the modern mixture of esotericism and politics -- a "dangerously explosive" combination.' -- Saul Bellow, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Humboldt's Gift 'Al-Kemi has reminded me of the beauty inherent in the relationship among systems.' -- Ram Das, author of Be Here Now 'VandenBroeck is a superb writer, with a novelist's sense of drama and a scholar's sense of responsibility. Schwaller de Lubicz is not likely to be as well served for a long time.' -- Joscelyn Godwin, Professor of Music at Colgate University and the author of The Mystery of the Seven Vowels: In Theory and Practice and Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde

About the Author

Andre VandenBroeck is also the author of Philosophical Geometry and Breaking Through: A Narrative of the Great Work. He has translated and edited several works by R.A.Schwaller De Lubicz.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Ye are the salt of the Earth..." 30 Mar 2000
By Francis A. Mercuri - Published on Amazon.com
Andre VandenBroeck's "Al-Kemi" is much more significant than a memoir (as described by the author), and far beyond a simple collection of biographical data pertaining to the life of Rene Schwaller de Lubicz. Not that these points are absent. To the contrary, VandenBroeck depicts with great lucidity his understanding of the events and personalities involved his relationship with "Aor" late into the 1950's. Al-Kemi's more vital value however, resides in the fact that reads as a microcosmic course in Hermetic Philosopy, challenging the readers established ways of thinking (even reading!), and offering alternative perspectives. Despite VandenBroeck's knack of utilizing the printed word economically (or, perhaps due to this talent), he effectively communicates profundity through brevity. Hence, the reader will note two predominent ideological threads woven into the memoir: Rene Schwaller's metaphysics of perception (derived mostly from his interpretation of Pythagorean and Pharaonic geometry, or "symbolique", and ultimately spurring all modern philosophical controversies. The battle of "Archemides vs. Pythagoras", the question of two as the result of increase, or as the result of division of the one thing). Secondly, de Lubicz's stress placed on the role of Alchemical Salt. Thus, Rene Schwaller's extention of the Hermetic doctrine of Salt as the matrix of manifestation sends the reader on a mysterious and alluring journey. Absent of any chronology in this Hermetic adventure, back, forward, and simultaneously the trek visits the Parisian Alchemical world of the 1900's, complete with Fulcanelli, whose relationship with Schwaller often reminds one of John Dee and Edward Kelly's work together. This "fixing" of Salt moves behind the temple walls of Pharonic Egypt, finds testimony in the Gothic Cathedrals, presents us with the stormy climate of right-wing, monarchist, and elitist brotherhoods of post World War I France and Germany. And it is this Salt, that our perception inscribes experience upon, circulating eternally throughout nature, more critical, stable, and reliable than DNA in the course of esoteric "evolution" (if such a word can be used without detracting from Schawller's arguement), and providing the key to the Adepts' secret of Palingenesis.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars -make that 10, 15 Stars! 9 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Two of the century's most amazing minds met & interacted in an initiatic/alchemic/esoteric give & take for 18 months some 40 years ago in France...these men were De Lubicz, the cautious, controversial, mind-bogglingly brilliant Egypt-inspired theorist/Adept, and Vandenbroeck, the 'burning', younger, bounteously-gifted apprentice. Their time spent together has been revivified masterfully, the conversations recreated compellingly, and the overall effect achieved in this portrait/memoir/esoteric 'thriller' is revelatory...I'll be re-reading these authors & passing copies to friends the rest of my life! (PS: WHO was Fulcanelli?)
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sublime and the rediculous 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Dispersed among pages devoted to small-minded pettines and pendantic diction there is enough rarefied subject matter to warrant reading and re-reading this fascinating exposé of the hermetical mind of Schwaller de Lubicz. One cannot ignore the rare biographical information imparted on the Fulcanelli milieu. Well worth a place in your library. Silvio Pan
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic 27 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This is the only biography of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz available in English and as such would be an absolute necessity even if it did not contain rare insights and information regarding the man. Unfortunately the book is a little inaccessible upon the first reading, as the prose is highly compressed. But it gets better each time you read it, as most true spiritual classics do. And this is indeed a classic.

With that said, it is a classic despite its author, not because of him. It is great because of its subject. It becomes clear by the end of the narrative that the author cannot understand what is best and highest in Schwaller, for that is what he rejects, whereas he embraces what is least (the alchemical and Egyptological superstitions in which Schwaller disguises his own insights). The writer is a minor figure who was, rather incredibly, programmed like a robot by Schwaller (he would use the term "inscribed") to perform the function of making his great works accessible to a wider public.

He succeeded.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey into Al-Kemi 20 Dec 2007
By Polymathicus - Published on Amazon.com
Quite simply, one of the most important books I have read in the last 15 years (and I read a LOT of them, trust me).
As an exercise in biography, it is riveting: Schwaller/Aor is painted by Vandenbroeck's skillful hand in all his multifarious sides, even the more untasteful ones.
As a glimpse into the practical side of the Hermetic Work, it is matched only by Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, by P.D. Ouspensky.

CAVEAT: This book is most definitely not for everybody. Only thirsty Seekers of Truth need to apply.
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