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Complete Idiot's Guide To Alchemy: The Magic and Mystery of the Ancient Craft Revealed For Today (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – 1 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha Books; 1 edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592577350
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592577354
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 1.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Where else can one combine chemistry and philosophy to turn base metal into gold while discovering a magical elixir to prolong life? Here's a simple and straightforward guide to alchemy that explains its basic principles. Written by one of the world's few practising alchemists, it's a concise reference guide that provides easy-to-follow information so that anybody can be a wizard-in-training.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roy A Foster on 21 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent introduction to the world of Alchemy. If you are new to the subject this will be an easy to read yet thorough guide to what otherwise could be a complex subject.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By altus on 11 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
An invaluable way to start making sense of the Art. Very well written, very useful as a prime reference to start the Work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 48 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Great Resource! 14 Sept. 2008
By Christopher C. Faber - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am no alchemist and I don't pretend to be one. However I have been intensely interested in this facet of history that tends to be omitted from most history books. I have spent many hours scouring bookstores for texts explaining in a concise and clear manner about what alchemy is and its history, and have rarely ever been able to find more than radical new age hooey and self-improvement books. While this book does have a certain metaphysical smell about it later on, the first half of the text provides a great summation of the obscure history of Alchemy, and even goes so far as to describe certain symbols and imagery that can be used to decipher more ancient alchemical texts. As an aspiring student of archaeology, this is highly useful to me. I could use a bit more in the way of deciphering the highly opaque alchemical texts and images that one can find in books like "Alchemy and Mysticism" by Roob, and I hope to see more books do just that. Surprisingly after I read this, I see alchemical symbols everywhere!

You can find them on architecture, on tarot cards, in old astronomical illustrations, and most every other place you can look. Alchemy seems to be a hidden river of knowledge that ran through the culture and history of the past, providing a forgotten perspective of old events and important figures. Isaac Newton was an alchemist, even canonized Saints of the Church were Alchemists, such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. There is a wealth of information in this book that is easily accessible by almost anyone. (Hence, for Complete Idiot's, like me. =] )

I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Alchemy.
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Concise Introduction 10 April 2008
By K. Pinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are countless books on alchemy out there. What is obvious about alchemy is that it is a wide field, filled with ambiguities. This is not the sort of subject your average person thinks that they can understand. Too many books are written using language in unexpected ways. Where can a novice turn in order to begin exploring such a difficult yet rewarding study? This book is an excellent place to start. I love the Idiot's Guides in general, and this one is great. Although it is a primer, it still has much to offer those who already have some preliminary knowledge. And unlike many other primers, the author does not merely focus on one type of alchemy. He discusses spiritual, mental, and physical forms of alchemy both in a historical and modern living setting- both theoretical and practical. There are a few books and website that I can recommend- but if I was asked which one book to start with, I would say this one.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Great Book for Beginning Alchemists 12 July 2008
By Marion S. Wilhelm - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was looking for a basic beginner's book about Alchemy and I am glad I found this one. It was concise and easy to understand. Alchemical ideals can be difficult and confusing but the author explains things in such a way that even the novice can grasp the process. The author also has a neat way of reiterating things ie,"remember that....." or "don't forget that we learned...." so that you DON'T forget. The order of the book is logical and builds up step by step. Like all the Idiots Guides the writing is in small bytes so you do not lose interest. Hauck takes you through both laboratory(you can use your kitchen) and personal alchemy and shows you how you can begin to do both. A chart for alchemical ciphers is included and some good online sites for other useful tables. The resources are excellent for those who wish to go further and learn more. For a beginning book and a good overview this book is a GREAT starting point and excellent reference to keep for later, too.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding in every way 28 Feb. 2010
By Konrad Baumeister - Published on
Format: Paperback
Writing a primer on alchemy, a subject deliberately clouded in misinformation, ancient symbols, and misdirection of every sort, would present a tremendous challenge to any author, but Dennis William Hauck has instead written a concise introduction notable for clarity, concision, and as full an explanation as space in a book such as this allows. It is an excellent place to start one's research into an almost limitless subject, touching on everything from the hardest of empirical sciences to the realms of the subconscious, to magic, and to personal spiritual development.

Hauck defines terms, and gives us a very short overview of the history and development of alchemy as a pursuit, and then guides the reader through the basics. The planets, the metals, the connexions and relationships - all defined clearly. The laboratory operations are laid bare; some introductory experiments are suggested and described, some that could be perfomed in anybody's own kitchen. From there we go deeper into the effects of each metal, how they have been used.

Besides the physical/spiritual aspects of the work, Hauck is good at laying out the spiritual, social, mental and psychological aspects of alchemy, and the alchemical process in all things, principles that take us from meditational work on the self, all the way to the Unified Field Theory in physics. It is fascinating.

Finally, Hauck offers an excellent assortment of resources for further study, some old and some very new, including a long list of websites offering information, courses, and much deeper discussion of alchemy.

An excellent book if you are at all interested in the topic.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Finding the Philosopher's Stone 25 May 2009
By Emilie A. Gosline - Published on
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the notion of Alchemy and an Idiot's Guide is a conflict in terms because anyone interested in the subject would neither think of being called an idiot nor consider the subject as one to be described on an elementary level. If you can get past all that and place yourself as a humble, empty crucible, however, you will find one of the most fascinating, readable and enlightening books about Western culture and many keys for personal growth.

I sent for this book by mail order on the strength of its author because I once heard Dennis Hauck give a lecture and I know he can explain a complex subject without being pedantic. Rather than getting bogged down in the practical aspect of alchemy (he does talk about kitchen alchemy, too) he keeps his sights on the real purpose of the discipline, which is the transformation, evolution and healing of the practitioner. A multitude of subjects is brought together to give you a sense of the process-- quantum physics, dark matter, chaos magick, planetary signatures and properties of metals, animal-coded symbols, the bird language, psychology, medical concepts, Taoist concepts, Hindu Rasayana, and biographical information about many of the key figures in alchemy's history, and yes, even including Harry Potter. He discusses the opposing essences of soul and spirit. To quote, "The product of this union is the Philosopher's Stone, which in spiritual alchemy is the embodiment of a permanent state of perfected consciousness." Save yourself hundreds of dollars in self-improvement courses and get this book instead. I don't think you will be disappointed.
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