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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to Alchemy you could buy !
I have many dozens of books on spiritual themes and quite a few on alchemy. Alchemy is a truly fascinating yet mystifying subject, the ancient manuscripts are full of riddles and 'blinds' - deliberately misleading statements made to confuse the unworthy, for these texts were not intended to stand-alone, they were study aids for initiates which required oral elucidation by...
Published on 21 Mar 2012 by Visio Smaragdina

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not reader-friendly
Obviously, I was interested enough in this subject to buy a book about it. However, I found the author's prose so difficult to wade through that I gave up on the book entirely. I support the Plain English campaign. This book clearly does not.
Published 9 months ago by boz


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to Alchemy you could buy !, 21 Mar 2012
This review is from: Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Paperback)
I have many dozens of books on spiritual themes and quite a few on alchemy. Alchemy is a truly fascinating yet mystifying subject, the ancient manuscripts are full of riddles and 'blinds' - deliberately misleading statements made to confuse the unworthy, for these texts were not intended to stand-alone, they were study aids for initiates which required oral elucidation by a living master. Now we only have the texts, fortunately Burkhardt manages to shine a little light on the true meaning of alchemy. Not only is this book the best and clearest introduction to alchemy I have ever read it is also a book that I return to again and again for inspiration. The book is concerned with spiritual alchemy, rather than physical alchemy; spiritual alchemy has nothing to do with the material transformation of metallic lead into gold. The gold here is the transformed consciousness of the initiate. Burkhardt explains the symbolic meaning of the seven metals in alchemy, the three principles of salt, sulphur and quicksilver, the transformative stages of nigredo, albedo and rubedo. There are many illustrations from alchemical manuscripts. Modern esoteric works seem to borrow heavily from Jung, however alchemy is not simply a primitive description of the human psyche, and the text is completely free of Jungian jargon. Instead Burkhardt relates alchemy to perennial spiritual traditions, to sufism and esoteric christianity- for the path of alchemy extends way beyond the limits of the human psyche. If you want to understand a major facet of the western mystery tradition, free from the corrupting influence of modern psychological theory, then Burkhardt's Alchemy will be a superb introduction.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decipherment of symbolic keys to unlock the Heart's door., 7 Feb 2002
By 
Uzma Yusef (Harrow, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Paperback)
An uncovering of the misunderstood and mispracticed art/science of Alchemy and a journey back to its origins and original intentions. Use it to understand yourself and to discover what symbols are and why they are. Be warned, this book is not a "taster" of the subject. It thrusts the reader into the fullness of meaning, barely giving you a chance to catch your breath. Be confounded, be inspired. Above all, be agitated into taking the next logical step.......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alchemy of the Spirit, Soul and Body., 25 May 2013
This review is from: Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Paperback)
Titus Burckhardt explains Alchemy as a means to salvation. The essential point is that there is a link between the action of the body - the work in the lab on minerals - the soul, and the spirit. A moving and beautiful book, Mr. burckhardt's generosity and insight shine from every page.

For a how-to on making plant "stones", see Manfred Junius.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Exploration of the Art of Hermes, 21 Aug 2012
By 
Nigel C. Jackson "SetheusPalingenius700" (Terre de Salvaesche) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Paperback)
Titus Burckhardt's book on alchemy is perhaps the best and most satisfying treatment of this complex subject available, and explores the whole of the Ars Regia from an authentically traditional perspective. Burckhardt was a Muslim and we see from the outset that emerging from the decadence, disintegration and chaos of late pagan antiquity, as a matter of necessity and survival, the Hermetic tradition had to be preserved within the spiritual context of the orthodox Abrahamic revelations - that is to say that for several millennia a Hermetist was invariably a devout Muslim, Jew or Christian. Alchemy and the other cosmological sciences transmitted under the aegis of `Thrice Great Hermes', could only survive by being synthesized and assimilated organically into the monotheistic world-view of the Abrahamic religions in the West.

Titus Burckhardt examines the initiatory transposition which the Hermetic arts are susceptible to in great detail and brings a deep quality of piercing insight to bear upon the subject which makes this book a unique work of its kind - he considers the teachings and methods of the Royal Art in their original context, eschewing the inadequate pyschologizing tendencies of Jung. In particular he explains why, considering the colour symbolism of white and red, the hues corresponding to what the Hindu doctrine of the Gunas terms Sattva and Rajas, the final goal of the Opus Alchymicum is the Red Stone or Elixir - where Julius Evola mistakenly interpreted this symbolism via the distorted lens of `Kshatriya revolt' and posited an erroneous view by which the primacy of Action/Regnum over Knowledge/Sacerdotium was asserted ( perpetuating an inversion of the true spiritual hierarchic order of the Tradition which always leads to `luciferian' heterodoxy and malefic falsehood and which underlies the whole deviation of modernity), Burckhardt reveals the true significance of this colour sequence in the alchemical Work - as a secondary science pertaining to the cosmological realm Alchemy (like Astrology and other contingent applications of Hermetic knowledge, including those relating to artisanal crafts) belongs to the Lesser Mysteries and the goal of the Red Work reveals the precise limits and scope of the Parva Mysteria - rather than aiming at complete transcendence via attainment of the supra-formal degree of the Supreme Identity which is the term of the Magna Mysteria, Alchemy explicitly sought to realise the `materialization of the spirit' in the Lapis Philosophorum and the Red Tincture thus deliberately alludes to this degree of attainment within the formal cosmological domain (albeit conveying a symbolism perfectly capable of being transposed onto a superior spiritual and initiatic plane as we see in the `station of the Red Sulphur' in Islamic esoterism). Thus we see a demonstration of how in a Traditional civilization everything is to be found in its proper place within the hierarchic order of Reality.

The chapter on the Alchemical work understood within methods of invocation and prayer expounds the teaching of Ibn `Arabi in a really illuminating way and contains a beautiful and fruitful exegesis of the `Angelical Salutation' interpreted along these lines. This book contains a wealth of esoteric insight into alchemy and the hermetic sciences as they were understood and practised in the West and is probably the most accurate treatment of this subject presently available. The chapters on the mysteries of Sulphur, Quicksilver and Salt, the stages of the Work and the verses of the Emerald tablet of Hermes Trismegistus upon which he provides a rich and penetrating commentary, highlighting the affinity with the genuine Tantric and yogic streams in oriental traditions. The unbroken lineage of transmission of the secondary arts and sciences of the Hermetic Tradition (Alchymia, Astrologia, Magia) emanating from the schools wherein these were preserved and taught, ended in the West after the fading of the Middle Ages - (a brief final efflorescence in the early Renaissance failed to counteract the negative tendencies of a worldly `neo-paganizing' humanism, which effectively dissolved the theocentric spiritual world-view which was integral to their authentic doctrine and method - a situation ushering in the ascent of modernity.) With the loss of the authentic lineal continuity of the living chain of transmission along with the preservation in their original state of initiatic regularity within the matrix of an orthodox spiritual Tradition the Hermetic arts in the West foundered, withered and fragmented: based only upon doubtful attempts at revival outside of a normative spiritual Tradition, usually upon mendacious warrants or mere reconstitution from literary texts the Hermetic arts of Alchymia, Astrologia and Magia in the West have long since gone into terminal decline and degenerated into mediocre occultism of a questionable validity and clearly heteroclite complexion (the term `spiritual materialism' accurately describes the decayed state of such things in the modern West as syncretic manifestations of occultism, sorcery and neo-paganism, not to mention the distinctly demonic and degenerate strains which inevitably become all too visible therein.) So Alchemy, Magia and Astrology no longer can be said to actually exist in the West as living and regular expressions in the context of sacred Tradition, but rather as Seyyed Hossein Nasr has stated we now see only inferior psychic residues which contribute to the growing darkness and confusion of the late Kali Yuga. (To find authentic transmissions of such cosmological sciences as living arts one must look instead to the spiritual-cultural sphere of the Orient). Nonetheless even if the Post Judaeo-Christian West has witnessed the decay and demise of the Hermetic arts and sciences which, lacking an unbroken chain of masters and transmission of Baraqah, have long ago been supplanted by pseudo-spiritual subversions and tenebrous counterfeits, those remains of true Hermetism which Titus Burckhardt considers and interprets can still yield an authentically primordial and initiatic symbolism which in certain cases may form the efficacious support of a contemplative approach leading to spiritual realisations - the Spirit bloweth where it listeth.

The study of Titus Burckhardt's book can open the gateway to a genuine apprehension of the essence of the Hermetic wisdom. Alongside this work one might also profitably study Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr's incomparable writings upon Islamic cosmological sciences, and Maurice Aniane's magnificent monograph `Notes sur Alchemie, Yoga cosmologique de la Chretiente medievale' which shows how the cosmological sciences of the Lesser Mysteries, from alchemy to masonry and heraldry, formed an essential element of harmonious balance within the spiritual economy of medieval Christendom, and the profound essay `Hermetic Wisdom in Islam' by the Traditionalist writer Zachary Markwith.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Alchemy without the Drivel, 28 July 2007
This review is from: Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Paperback)
This book is excellent. I have named it alchemy without the drivel, because that is what it is - factual, balanced and to the point. Burckhardt was a scholar of the old school and therefore never strays into hyperbole nor ridicule.

Alchemy is an art of self-transformation; he avoids the extremes of the material science world view in which they are mere "puffers", fools seeking riches; and the Jungian one that they are projecting psychological archetypes of change and individuation. Burckhardt accepts that alchemy was a spiritual tradition, but one for very few indeed. There is not something quite right about this path, but it is nevertheless a path to truth for those that for some reason or other can not follow one of the general traditions given by Providence to human beings.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not reader-friendly, 1 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Paperback)
Obviously, I was interested enough in this subject to buy a book about it. However, I found the author's prose so difficult to wade through that I gave up on the book entirely. I support the Plain English campaign. This book clearly does not.
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Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul
Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul by Titus Burckhardt (Paperback - 21 Nov 2000)
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