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Good exploration, but limited view of Alchemy !
on 14 November 2009
Firstly, dont get me wrong - this is a very good book - looking primarily at Alchemy as an inner transformative art. The author does a reasonable job of bringing together a process of inner alchemy using the symbolism of the Qaballa, the Arthurian mythos and aspects of Eastern Yoga. Working in stages in the development of ones own symbolic tower of the art. However, I did not feel that it was an advanced manual. The reason being that there were only a few references to the genuine western alchemical symbolism that is found in such books as by Flamel etc. It seems to more a personal interpretation of Alchemical Qaballa. The other disappointing aspect of this book is that it completed ignored physical alchemy - spyrgarics and speculations on what the metallic stone might be. It also made some very bold statements about how alchemical symbolism should be interpreted, ie the tantric sexual-spiritual interpretation was shot down by the author in the first chapter. I found this to be beginning of a rather over authoratitive tone which ran through the text demonstrating the authors limited view and understanding of the alchemical art. I also found the author made little reference or mention of Taoist, Hindu or Arabian alchemy seeming more to concentrate upon Tibetan buddhism and nothing else in its eastern parallel. The book seemed to be three things - qaballa, tibetan buddhist tantra, arthurian mythos and only a very few vague limited references to actual published alchemical texts and symbolism in west.
So in summary, it is a good book but limited in its view of Alchemy. I would recommend it for people looking to explore alchemical symbolism and the qaballa, with a bit of arthurian mythos thrown in. I read in another review this material comes from a particular well known magical school, it does not surprise me - very much the presence of the Dion Fortune / Butler current of magic and inherent attitudes come through in this work. Much of the practical work is based upon visualisation/pathworking - methods so favoured by these influences.