Alchemy and the Philosopher's Stone. 











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& The Philosopher's Stone

Ancient Writings

Alchemy The Emerald Tablet The 7 Steps The Stone History
  Benu Bird   The Book of Aquarius Bibliography Links

Let the studious Reader have a care of the manifold significations of words, for by deceitful windings, and doubtful, yea contrary speeches (as it should seem), Philosophers wrote their mysteries, with a desire of veiling and hiding, yet not of sophisticating or destroying the truth; and though their writings abound with ambiguous and equivocal words; yet about none do they more contend than in hiding their Golden Branch.

The Hermetic Arcanum

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 
for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

The Bible, Proverbs 3: 13-20

 An Ancient Symbol of Unity
 Dragon pendant gold - Order Here >>

The Dragon pendant is a version of the Gordian knot with an ouroboros dragon that bites his own tail. The ouroboros dragon is an ancient alchemy symbol that symbolizes the equality of the internal and external in the alchemist soul.

The Gordian knot can be made on a Torus tube which looks like a donut or a sphere that turns in from one side and comes out on the other in a perpetual motion. The Torus Tube contains many mathematical formulas and equations. Science began using this model as a geometric\mathematical model of the universe. Sacred geometry also made extensive use of this shape.

The Gordian knot is associated in legend with Alexander the Great:
The knot was made by Gordias. It was further prophesied by an oracle that the one to untie the knot would become the king of Asia. In 333 BC, Alexander attempted to untie the knot. When he could find no end to the knot, he sliced it in half with a stroke of his sword (the so-called "Alexandrian solution").

This dragon pendant is a symbol of unity both from the point of the Gordian symbol and from the use of the ouroboros dragon that bites his own tail.

Introduction to Alchemy

Alchemy is generally defined as an art which aims to change impure metals into silver or gold. The goal of the Great Work of alchemy, called also the Art, is the "Philosopher's Stone". The Stone was viewed as a magical touchstone that could immediately perfect any substance or situation. The Philosopher's Stone has been associated with the Salt of the World, the Astral Body, the Elixir, and even Jesus Christ. The Elixir of the alchemists has essentially the same ability to perfect any substance. When applied to the human body, the Elixir cures diseases and  restores youth. 

The alchemists' dream is to attain knowledge of the mysterious Philosopher's Stone, or "that Elixir by which such wonders are performed".
The Stone is  "a blessing beyond all blessings upon earth... given to but very few, and to those few rather by revelation of the good angels of God than the proper industry of man". 

Alchemical texts should not be read literally and their content is purely allegorical and mystical. The studies of Carl Gustav Jung show it is possible to detect correspondences between alchemy and mysticism: the alchemist himself, too, was to live through the process of transmutation, and become transformed as a result.

In modern language the Stone is a symbol of  incorruptible wisdom achieved by uniting both rational, intellectual thinking (masculine, rational, right brain activity) with our intuitive knowing of the heart  (feminine, intuitive left brain activity)

The basis of all the alchemical transformations required to obtain the Stone (called the Great Work) is seven-stepped formula described by the Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes


History of the Tablet

(largely summarized from Needham 1980, & Holmyard 1957)

The Tablet probably first appeared in the West in editions of the psuedo-Aristotlean Secretum Secretorum which was actually a translation of the Kitab Sirr al-Asar, a book of advice to kings which was translated into latin by Johannes Hispalensis c. 1140 and by Philip of Tripoli c.1243. Other translations of the Tablet may have been made during the same period by Plato of Tivoli and Hugh of Santalla, perhaps from different sources.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

From Bacstrom's Original Alchemical Manuscripts (specially redrawn).
Copyrighted by Manly P. Hall.


The date of the Kitab Sirr al-Asar is uncertain, though c.800 has been suggested and it is not clear when the tablet became part of this work.
Holmyard was the first to find another early arabic version (Ruska found a 12th centruy recension claiming to have been dictated by Sergius of Nablus) in the Kitab Ustuqus al-Uss al-Thani (Second Book of the Elements of Foundation) attributed to Jabir. Shortly after Ruska found another version appended to the Kitab Sirr al-Khaliqa wa San`at al-Tabi`a (Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature), which is also known as the Kitab Balaniyus al-Hakim fi'l-`Ilal (book of Balinas the wise on the Causes). It has been proposed that this book was written may have been written as early as 650, and was definitely finished by the Caliphate of al-Ma'mun (813-33).
Scholars have seen similarities between this book and the Syriac Book of Treasures written by Job of Odessa (9th century) and more interestingly the Greek writings of the bishop Nemesius of Emesa in Syria from the mid fourth century. However though this suggests a possible Syriac source, non of these writings contain the tablet.
Balinas is usually identified with Apollonius of Tyna, but there is little evidence to connect him with the Kitab Balabiyus, and even if there was,the story implies that Balinas found the tablet rather than wrote it, and the recent discoveries of the dead sea scrolls and the nag hamamdi texts suggest that hiding texts in caves is not impossible, even if we did not have the pyramids before us.
Ruska has suggested an origin further east, and Needham has proposed an origin in China.
Holmyard, Davis and Anon all consider that this Tablet may be one of the earliest of all alchemical works we have that survives.
It should be remarked that apparantly the Greeks and Egyptians used the termtranslated as `emerald' for emeralds, green granites, "and perhaps green jasper". In medieval times the emerald table of the Gothic kings of Spain, and the Sacro catino- a dish said to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba, to have been used at the last supper, and to be made of emerald, were made of green glass [Steele and Singer: 488].


The Emerald Tablet of Hermes - Translations

  1. Tis true without lying, certain & most true. That wch is below is like that wch is above & that wch is above is like yt wch is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.

  2. And as all things have been & arose from one by ye mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.

  3. The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth its nourse.

  4. The father of all perfection in ye whole world is here.

  5. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth. Seperate thou ye earth from ye fire, ye subtile from the gross sweetly wth great indoustry.

  6. It ascends from ye earth to ye heaven & again it desends to ye earth and receives ye force of things superior & inferior.

  7. By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.

  8. Its force is above all force. for it vanquishes every subtile thing & penetrates every solid thing. So was ye world created.

  9. From this are & do come admirable adaptaions whereof ye means (Or process) is here in this.

  10. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of ye philosophy of ye whole world.

  11. That wch I have said of ye operation of ye Sun is accomplished & ended.

Translation of Issac Newton c. 1680.

  1. Trouth hath hym so, and it is no doubt, that the lover is to the heigher, and the heigher to the lower aunsweren.

  2. The worcher forsoth of all myracles is the one and sool God, of and fro Whom Cometh all meruelous operacions.

  3. So all thynges were created of o soole substance, and of o soole disposicion,
    the fader wherof is the sone, and the moone moder,
    that brought hym forth by blast or aier in the wombe, the erthe taken fro it,
    to whom is seid the increat fader, tresour of myracles, and yever of vertues.

  4. Of fire is made erthe. Depart the erthe fro the fire, for the sotiller is worthier than the more grosse, and the thynne thynge than the thik. This most be do wisely and discretly.

  5. It ascendith fro the erth into the heven, and falleth fro heven to the erthe, and therof sleith the higher and the lower vertue.

  6. And yf it lordship in the lower and in the heigher, and thow shalt lordship aboue and beneth, which forsoth is the light of lightes, and therfor fro the wolle fle all derknesse.

  7. The higher vertue ouer-cometh all, for sothe all thynne thyng doth in dense thynges.

  8. After the disposicion of the more world rynneth this worchyng.

  9. And for this prophetisyng of the trynyte of God Hermogenes it called Triplex, trebil in philosophie, as Aristotle seith.

Translation from Roger Bacon's edition of Secretum Secretorum made c 1445

  1. True, true, with no room for doubt, certain, worthy of all trust.

  2. See, the highest comes from the lowest, and the lowest from the highest; 
    indeed a marvelous work of the tao.

  3. See how all things originated from It by a single process.

  4. The father of it (the elixir) is the sun (Yang), its mother the moon (Yin). 
    The wind bore it in its belly, and the earth nourished it.

  5. This is the father of wondrous works (changes and transformations), the guardian of mysteries, perfect in its powers, the animator of lights.

  6. This fire will be poured upon the earth...

  7. So separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, acting prudently and with art.

  8. It ascends from the earth to the heavens (and orders the lights above), then descends again to the earth; and in it is the power of the highest and the lowest.

  9. Thus when you have the light of lights darkness will flee away from you.

  10. With this power of powers (the elixir) you shall be able to get the mastery of every subtle thing, and be able to penetrate everything that is gross.

  11. In this way was the great world itself formed.

  12. Hence thus and thus marvellous operations will be acheived.

Hypothetical Chinese Original

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Tabula smaragdina' from Ms. M 308 (1943)
Copyright © 2003 Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica

The seven-stepped Emerald Formula is the basis of all the transformations in the Great Work.


Seven Steps of the Philosopher's Stone Formula


Although the alchemists went to great pains to conceal the true order of the steps of the formula for making the Stone, the correct order according to the Emerald Tablet is: 

  • Calcination, 
  • Dissolution, 
  • Separation, 
  • Conjunction, 
  • Fermentation, 
  • Distillation, 
  • Coagulation.

The first four steps take place Below, in the realm of matter. 

The last three steps take place Above, in the realm of mind and creative imagination. 


The Seven Steps of Transformation of the One Entity
Solve et Coagula

"Visita Interiora Terra Rectificanto Inveniens Occultum Lapidem"
L'Azoth des Philosophes, Basil Valentine, Paris, 1659.


  1. Saturn / black crow perching on top of a skull / Visita = Putrefaction
  2. Jupiter / black crow watching itself dissolving / Interiora = Dissolution


  1. Mars / two white soul birds retrieving the remains / Terra = Separation
  2. Sun / ascending soul & spirit birds leave Earth and lift the five-spiked crown / Rectificanto = Conjunction


  1. Venus / soul & spirit birds nest in a tree and brood over their egg / Inveniens = Fermentation
  2. Mercury / unicorn lying in front of a rose bush / Occultum = Distillation
  3. Moon / androgynous youth emerging from an open grave / Lapidem = Coagulation.

The telemic process is subdivided in different phases. In general, a sevenfold was chosen, corresponding with the seven planets known in antiquity. Various other sevenfold classifications were used : the days of the week, the seven "Artes Liberales", the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven deadly sins, the seven ways of holy love, the seven heavens, the seven hells, etc. The habit of publishing bogus correspondences, assisted the occultation of Hermetism, but served well as a protection device. It was Jung who, in the previous century, showed that the discipline is psychological & spiritual, rather than physical or technological. As a spiritual discipline, alchemy differs from the other traditions. Its use of physical objects & their properties, to convey spiritual & philosophical teachings is unique for the Egypto-Alexandrian model, rooted it the Hermetical postulate, and indeed leading to admirable practical realizations.


Interpretation of Azoth of the Philosophers

by Dennis William Hauck

This meditative emblem first published in 1659 as an illustration for the book Azoth of the Philosophers by the legendary German alchemist Basil Valentine. The word "Azoth" in the title is one of the more arcane names for the One Thing. The "A" and "Z" in the word relate to the Greek alpha and omega, the beginning and end of all things. The word is meant to embrace the full meaning of the One Thing, which is both the chaotic First Matter at the beginning of the Work and the perfected Stone at its conclusion.

At the center of this striking drawing is the face of a bearded alchemist at the beginning of the Work. Like looking into a mirror, this is where the adept fixes his or her attention to meditate on the mandala. Within the downward-pointing triangle superimposed over the face of the alchemist is the goal of the Work, the divine man in which the forces from Above and Below have come together. Each of the sequentially numbered points on the star emanating from the alchemist stands for an operation in the Emerald Formula (Calcination, Dissolution, Separation, Conjunction, Fermentation, Distillation, and Coagulation) and contains the cipher for the corresponding metal. To see an explanation of these operations, click on the appropriate point on the star.

Table of Operations = Metals 

The alchemist’s schematized body is the offspring of the marriage between Sol, the archetypal Sun King seated on a lion on a hill to his right, and Luna, the archetypal Moon Queen seated on a great fish to his left. "Its father is the Sun," says the tablet, "its mother the Moon." The laughing, extroverted Sun King holds a scepter and a shield indicating his authority and strength over the rational, visible world, but the fiery dragon of his rejected unconscious waits in a cave beneath him ready to attack should he grow too arrogant. The melancholy, introverted Moon Queen holds the reins to a great fish, symbolizing her control of those same hidden forces that threaten the King, and behind her is a chaff of wheat, which stands for her connection to fertility and growth. The bow and arrow she cradles in her left arm symbolize the wounds of the heart and body she accepts as part of her existence. 

In simplest terms, the King and Queen represent the raw materials of our experience -- our thoughts and feelings -- with which the alchemist works.

The King symbolizes the power of thought, ultimately the One Mind of the highest spirit. 
The Queen stands for the influence of feelings and emotions, which are ultimately the chaotic One Thing of the greater soul.

The much anticipated Marriage of the King and Queen produces a state of consciousness best described as a feeling intellect, which can be raised and purified to produce a state of perfect intuition, a direct gnosis of reality. "All Obscurity will be clear to you," says the tablet of this state of mind; it is "the Glory of the Whole Universe." The goal of alchemy is to make this golden moment permanent in a state of consciousness called the Philosopher’s Stone, and it all starts with the marriage of opposites within us.

In our drawing, the body of the alchemist is composed of the Four Elements. His feet protrude from behind the central emblem; one is on Earth and the other in Water. In his right hand is a torch of Fire and in his left a feather, symbolizing Air. Between his legs dangles the Cubic Stone labeled with the word Corpus, meaning body. The five stars surrounding it indicate that it also contains the hidden Fifth Element, the invisible Quintessence whose "inherent strength is perfected if it is turned into Earth." Where the head of the alchemist should be, there is a strange winged caricature that is variously interpreted as a heart, a helmet, or even the pineal gland at the center of the brain. The symbol evolved from the Winged Disk of Akhenaten and became the top of the Caduceus, the magical wand of Hermes where opposing energies merge to produce miracles. This knob represents the Ascended Essence, the essence of our souls raised to the highest level in the body, to the brain, where it becomes a mobile center of consciousness able to leave the body and travel to other dimensions.

Touching the wings of the caduceus are a salamander engulfed in flames on the left side of the drawing and a standing bird on the right. Below the salamander is the inscription Anima (Soul); below the bird is the inscription Spiritus (Spirit). The salamander, as a symbol of soul, is attracted to and exposed in the blazing fire of the Sun. Likewise, the bird of spirit is attracted to the coolness of the Moon and is reflected in it. This is a subtle statement of the fundamental bipolar energies that drive the alchemy of transformation. Spiritus, Anima, and Corpus form a large inverted triangle that stands behind the central emblem. Together they symbolize the three archetypal celestial forces that the alchemists termed Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt. Again, these chemicals are not chemicals at all, but our feelings, thoughts, and body.

Source: THE EMERALD TABLET (Penguin 1999) by Dennis William Hauck


The Stone of the Philosophers


There are two primary ways of knowing reality:

1. The rational, deductive, argumentative, intellectual thinking that is accepted by the science and our patriarchal Western culture. The alchemists called this Solar Consciousness and assigned it many code words, such as the Sun, Sulfur, the King, the Father, Spirit, and ultimately, the One Mind of the universe. This involves left-brain activity like linear thought, schematics, formulae, arguments and logic.

2. The intuitive way of thinking, also called intelligence of the heart, a non-linear, image-driven way of thinking that is an accepted tool of the arts and religion. The alchemists called the other way of knowing Lunar Consciousness. Among its many symbols are the Moon, Mercury, the Queen, the Holy Ghost, Soul, and ultimately, the One Thing of the universe. This involves right-brain activity dealing with drawings, paintings, mandalas, symbols, music, and meditation.

The alchemists believed that perfection could only be achieved by working with both Solar and Lunar ways of knowing and ultimately uniting them in a third state of Stellar Consciousness.  Stellar Consciousness is a state of incorruptible wisdom symbolized by the heroic Child that resulted from the marriage of the King and Queen, as well as by Salt, Gold, the Philosopher's Stone, the Astral Body, and of course, the Stars themselves. 

* * *

Philosopher's Stone - by Sir Isaac Newton

"Lapis Philosphicus" from a manuscript 416 by Sir Isaac Newton.
Click to enlarge.


Philosopher's Stone
(1024x768 GIF, 82KB)
An image inspired by a manuscript by Sir Isaac Newton.
Click to enlarge.


The History of Western Alchemy

A brief outline by Frank van Lamoen


Around the middle of the twelfth century the first translations from the Arabic begin to appear. (Arabic alchemy partly goes back to Greek texts). At the same time the works of Aristotle are introduced in the Latin West. Although Aristotle does not discuss alchemy at all, his Meteorologica becomes an authoritative text, not in the least because of Arabic additions relating to alchemy. Following the introduction of the art, alchemical texts are produced in the fourtheenth century containing allegories which draw on Biblical texts. After the invention of printing it is still another century before a wave of alchemical texts begins to flood the market. Around 1550 a number of compendia appears with Latin translations of by now classical texts such as the Rosarium Philosophorum and the Turba Philosophorum. Metallurgic manuals are also brought on the market, including Georg Agricola' s De Re Metallica (1556). A new genre is introduced, that of the 'libri secreti' , books of secrets, a sort of DIY-books with 'secret' recipes in all kinds of fields, including alchemy. Natural-philosophical handbooks appear which indirectly relate to alchemy, such as Giambattista della Porta' s Magia Naturalis (1558).

The appearance of Paracelsus (1493-1541) on the scene is decisive for the subsequent history of alchemy. Paracelsus set little store by transmutation, but he did prepare iatro-chemical medicine with the aid of distillation, and many physicians in the seventeenth century made use of iatro-chemical methods of healing. One of Paracelsus' best-known followers in this respect is the Danish physician Petrus Severinus. Paracelsistic terminology came to be adopted by mystics and theosophers, amongst whom Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605), Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) and his followers, particularly English Behmenists like Jane Lead and John Pordage. Their natural-philosophical speculations are generally set within a neoplatonist framework and are heterodox and anti-Aristotelian.

The early seventeenth century witnesses a flowering of emblematic literature which makes use of earlier trends, at the same time enriching these with allegories based on classical texts which may be interpreted alchemistically, such as Ovid' s Metamorphoses. Classic examples of alchemical emblematical literature are works by Michael Maier (notably Atalanta fugiens, Symbola aureae mensae duodecim nationum) and Lambsprinck, De lapide philosophico.

In the late seventeenth century, finally, alchemistic insights are incorporated into the new corpuscular theories which come to dominate the atomistic-mechanistic world picture. This type of alchemy gradually takes on an experimental character whereby an attempt is made to express its findings in clear language. The traditional alchemical termimology is retained by Pietists, and increasingly acquires a symbolical nature. The distinction between a 'chymist' - a practitioner of the chemical discipline - and an 'adept' - who knows the secret of alchemy - becomes ever larger. With the advance of gas chemistry and the dissolution of the elements at the end of the eighteenth century the universe becomes less of a mystery. The life force pervading the universe, once called the Philosopher's Stone, the Quinta Essentia, or the World Soul, is identified as oxygen. The now abstruse symbols of alchemy slumber in esoteric societies to awaken eventually in Jungian psychoanalysis.

Frank van Lamoen
Copyright © 2003 Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
All rights reserved

The Legend and History of the Benu Bird and the Phoenix

The Benu Bird

The Benu Bird is linked to that of the phoenix. Both are birds of the sun, both are self created, rather than being born from other creatures, both undergo death and become symbols of regeneration. The Egyptian sunbird is identified with Re, the Sun God. The word Benu in Egyptian means both purple heron and palm tree. The Benu was identified with the Temple of the Sun God at Heliopolis, which was revered by the Egyptians as the sacred mound from whence the Sun god, in his aspect of the Benu Bird, arose cyclically to renew Egypt; another feature which was shared by both the phoenix and the Benu Bird. 

The Benu Bird was also known to be a symbol of Osiris and is said to have sprung from the heart of Osiris as a living symbol of God, thus renewing itself. The Benu is thought to have originated in either Egypt or Arabia and by one account, spends most of its life in Phoenicia. 

A festival to the Benu is noted on the 12th Day of Khoiak in the Season of Aket (the Inundation); it was the Day of Transformation of the Benu. Offer to the Benu in your house on this day. It refers to the Benu as a personification of the everlasting Sun God.

The names of the Benu Bird and the Benben are derived from the same root Bn, which means ‘ascension’ or ‘to rise’; it is also thought that it comes from the root word weben meaning ‘to shine’ or ‘shining’. It is this image, in the form of a hawk, which is passed on to the Pharaoh, who is the living ‘Principle of Ascension’.


There are many descriptions of the Benu Bird ranging from various colours to types of birds. It has ranged from a heron (Book of the Dead,  depicted with a long straight beak, and a two-feathered crest, the physical manifestation of both Ra and Osiris) to an eagle like bird, a yellow wagtail (Pyramid Texts, serving as a manifestation of Atum), and a golden hawk with a heron’s head. The colouring of its plumage is also varied. Usually part red and part gold it has also said to be royal purple with a golden head and neck or a plum coloured body with scarlet back and wings feathers, a golden head and a sweeping tail of rose and azure. It is described as a large bird. The size of the Benu is the only thing that seems consistent, but also ambiguous, as large can mean many sizes.

Myth or Reality

The Myth of the Egyptian Benu Bird, which was usually depicted as a heron, could have come from a new species of heron found in recent  excavations in Umm-an-Ner. When the bones were reconstructed, it was found to be a large heron, larger than any now living. It is speculated that the Egyptians may have seen this large bird only as an extremely rare visitor or from tales of it from travellers who had trading expeditions to the Arabian Seas. Another possibility is the Goliath Heron, now found, among other places, on the coast of the Red Sea, but which may have been more widespread in ancient times.

The Greek Legend

The Greeks knew the Egyptian Benu Bird as the Phoenix. A legendary bird without parents and offspring it nurtured itself on sunlight and sea spray. Brilliant in appearance, its feathers were gold, red and white; its eyes were green as the sea. A semi-immortal being, the Phoenix had a lifespan of 500 years and when about to die, it drew new life from the primal elements of fire and water and was born again. It would build its nest in the form of a funeral pyre and a single clap of its wings would ignite it. Then, when consumed by the flames, a young Phoenix would arise from its own ashes. The Greeks considered the appearance of the Phoenix as a herald of important events to come.

It is thought by many that the myths surrounding the Phoenix were a misunderstanding of the Egyptian myths if the Benu Bird. It is possible that the legend comes from what Herodotus wrote of the Benu Bird.

“I have not seen a phoenix myself, except in paintings, for it is very rare and visits the country (so at least they say in Heliopolis) only at intervals of 500 years, on the occasion of the death of the parent bird. To judge by the paintings, its plumage is partly golden, partly red, and in shape and size it is exactly like an eagle. There is a story about the phoenix: it brings its parent in a lump of myrrh all the way from Arabia and buries the body in the Temple of the Sun. To perform the feat, the bird first shapes some myrrh into a sort of egg as big as it finds, by testing, that it can carry; then it hollows the lump out, puts its father inside and smears more myrrh over the opening. The egg-shaped lump is then just the same weight as it was originally. Finally, it is carried by the bird to the Temple of the Sun in Egypt.”

In Pliny’s account, a small worm appeared from the body of the phoenix the metamorphosed into a bird, thus the phoenix was reborn.

The Egyptian Legend (The Creation Myth of Heliopolis)

One of the creation myths of Heliopolis tells of the Benu Bird. IT gives an account of the first dawn and a heron skimming over the waters of the Nun until it comes to rest on a rock. As it did so, it opened its beak and a cry echoed over the water of the Nun. The world was filled with ‘that which it had not known’; the cry of the Benu Bird ‘determined what is and is not to be’. Thus, the Benu Bird, as an aspect of Atum, brought life and light to the world.

The Benu Bird was said to have created itself from a fire which burned at the top of the sacred persea tree in Heliopolis and it rested on the Benben Stone, a pillar topped by a pyramid shaped stone (an obelisk), which became the most sacred fetish worshipped in the city. On the Metternich Stele, Isis says to her son, Horus: ‘Thou are the Great Benu who was born on the incense tree in the House of the Great Prince of Heliopolis”. The capstones of the pyramids and the pyramids themselves were thought to be a representation of the Benben Stone and the Kings buried beneath were under the direct protection of the Sun God.

The Benu’s cry had begun the cycle of time, which the Egyptians believed to be divinely appointed. Divided as such: the twenty four hour day with twelve hours for both daytime and nighttimes, the ten days that comprised the Egyptian week, the thirty day month, the year of twelve months (365 days) and periods of 1460 years in which the civil and astronomical calendars diverged and then coincided again. The Temple of the Benu Bird at Heliopolis was primarily concerned with the regulation of the calendar and the Benu Bird itself became the deity concerned with the division of time.

The Benu Bird in Magic

The following spell from the Egyptian Book of the Dead is one for being transformed into a phoenix or Benu Bird.

Spell 83: Spell for being transformed into a phoenix.

I have flown up like the primeval ones,
I have become Khepri,
I have grown as a plant,
I have clad myself as a tortoise,
I am the essence of every God,
I am the seventh of those seven Uraei who came into being in the West,
Horus who makes the brightness with his person,
That God who was against Seth,
Thoth who was among you in that judgement of Him who presides over Letopolis together with the Souls of Heliopolis,
The flood which was between them.

I have come on the day when I appear in glory with the strides of the gods,
For I am Khons who subdued the Lords.
As for him who knows this pure spell,
It means going out into the day after death and being transformed at will,
Being in the suite of Wennefer
Being content with the food of Osiris,
Having invocation offerings,
Seeing the sun;
It means being hale on earth with Re and being vindicated with Osiris,
And nothing evil shall have power over him
A matter a million times true.

From at least the reign of Tutankhamun, the heron or Benu Bird appears on heart scarabs. These amulets were used to protect the heart, which was considered the source of life by the ancient Egyptians.


Related links:
The Secret of Solomon’s Temple Discovered
Gnosis: The Secret of Solomon's Temple Revealed (UK - now selling)

The Book of Aquarius

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't. -- Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)

The Book of Aquarius

The purpose of this book is to release one particular secret, which has been kept hidden for the last 12,000 years. The Philosophers' Stone, Elixir of Life, Fountain of Youth, Ambrosia, Soma, Amrita, Nectar of Immortality. These are different names for the same thing.

Throughout history this secret has been used by a very few to extend their lives hundreds of years in perfect health, with access to unlimited wealth, among many other miraculous properties. Some kept the secret because they understood that the time was not right for the secret to be free for all people, but most kept the secret out of their own jealousy, ignorance, egotism and corruption.

The Stone's history and the history of the human race up until this day is a strange story full of secret societies, hooded cloaks, and mystical symbols. Such theatrics are childish and shallow. It's pointless to look for the light in the shadows.

The Philosophers' Stone operates and is made by entirely natural and scientific means. Truth is always simple, beautiful and easy to understand.

The Philosophers' Stone is real; you can make it at home. The Stone makes old people young, heals all forms of sickness and disease, extends your life, turns any metal into gold, and more, as you will learn. This isn't a myth or a metaphor, it's a fact.

Don't judge this book before you've read it. This is not one of those airy fairy books written in all kinds of mystical language, filling pages with words that makes sentences but not sense. This book will make more sense than anything you've ever read before.

The age of secrets is over. I'm writing this book in common English. There's no need for mystical language or metaphor. This book contains no hidden meaning or codes; everything is stated plainly and directly, in the shortest and simplest of words necessary to convey the meaning.

Chapters 1 - 2 are the introduction and foreword.
Chapters 3 - 17 cover the theory of alchemy.
Chapters 18 - 29 cover the practical instructions for making the Stone.
Chapters 30 - 32 cover further information on the Stone.
Chapters 33 - 47 cover the history of the Stone.
Chapters 48 - 49 cover some more philosophical topics.
Chapter 50 is the alchemists' prophecy.
Chapter 51 is the afterword.
Chapter 52 is a list of answers to questions asked since initial release.
Chapter 53 is the bibliography.


I am a friend of Socrates and Plato, but still more so of Truth.

A Dialogue, by Alexander von Suchten, 16th - 17th Cen. (?)

Give this book to everyone you know. If you have a web site, upload it there. If you have a mailing list, mail it to everyone. If you work in the media, report on or publish this book. Translate it into different languages. Do everything you can to get this book to as many people as possible. You can distribute this book in any way. I am not reserving any copyright. This book is public domain and royalty-free. I advise you to print this book, as computers may not be so reliable in the future.

Do you know any secrets? Now is the time to release them. Forget any promises you made or vows you took. This is all corruption. If someone makes you promise to jump off a cliff it doesn't mean you have to. There is no such thing as "government", "society", "company", "organization", these are just vague concepts, they are not real, they don't have feelings. People are real. Your loyalty is to people and to Nature.

Please do not try to find out who I (the author) am. Please do not help anyone else find out who I am. I'm giving this book out freely, at great risk to myself, so please appreciate that and don't put me in danger. If you think you know who I am, don't try to contact me about it or ever mention it. Don't talk about me with other people over telephone or email.

This book is full of quotes. You can look up the full text of the source of these quotes by searching for any sentence from the quote on Google. Search for it in speech marks.

All of the quotes are from sources which are accessible to read for free online. The sources of all the alchemical books I have quoted from are these sites:,,, The latter three sites include alchemical imagery on their sites or in their books, but unfortunately none of them realized the true significance of alchemy. However, all these sites and (which is not free) have done a great service to the world by publishing alchemical literature on the Internet.

One week after initial release, offered free hosting for this book. A forum has been set up so if you wish to ask any questions to me (the author) you can now do so. This book will be regularly updated with the answers to any good questions posed. To access the forum and download the latest version of this book, please visit:

You can also download this book (PDF) here: The Book of Aquarius

What is Alchemy?

Nature enjoys its Nature, Nature contains Nature, improves Nature, reduces Nature, Nature is superior to Nature.

A Magnificent and Select Tract on Philosophical Water, by Anonymous, 13th - 17th Cen. (?)


Alchemy is the art of imitating and accelerating Nature. It is a natural art and science. In alchemy we do not really make anything, all we do is provide a condition for Nature to do what Nature does. So the Philosophers' Stone is not really made by the alchemist, it is made by Nature. The alchemist only provides the conditions so that Nature can operate effectively and without being disturbed.


Many Sages, Scholars, and learned men have in all ages, and (according to Hermes) even so early as the days before the Flood, written much concerning the preparation of the Philosopher's Stone; and if their books could be understood without a knowledge of the living processes of Nature, one might almost say that they are calculated to supersede the study of the real world around us. But though they never departed from the simple ways of Nature, they have something to teach us, which we, in these more sophisticated times, still need to learn, because we have applied ourselves to what are regarded as the more advanced branches of knowledge, and despise the study of so "simple" a thing as natural Generation. Hence we pay more heed to impossible things than to those objects which are broadly exhibited before our very eyes; we excel more in subtle speculations than in a sober study of Nature, and of the meaning of the Sages. It is one of the most remarkable features of human nature that we neglect those things which seem familiar, and are eager for new and strange information. The workman who has attained the highest degree of excellence in his Art, neglects it, and applies himself to something else, or else abuses his knowledge. Our longing for an increase of knowledge urges us ever onward towards some final goal, in which we imagine that we shall find full rest and satisfaction

[...] Nature, then, is one, true, simple, self-contained, created by God and informed with a certain universal spirit. Its end and origin are God. Its unity is also found in God, because God made all things. Nature is the one source of all things: nor is anything in the world outside Nature, or contrary to Nature.

[...] if Art would produce any solid and permanent effect, it must follow in the footsteps of Nature, and be guided by her methods. It must trust itself to the guidance of Nature as far as Nature will lead, and go beyond her by still adhering to her rules.

[...] Now in our Art you should closely imitate these natural processes. There should be the Central Heat, the change of the water into air, the driving upward of the air, its diffusion through the pores of the earth, its reappearance as condensed but volatilized water.

The New Chemical Light, by Michael Sendivogius, 17th Cen.

Nature, says Florus, is one, and if any man strays away from her guidance, he mars his labour.

[...] In changing the base metals into gold and silver by the projection of the Stone, it follows (by an accelerated process) the method of nature, and therefore is natural.

[...] The fact is that, in producing gold, the Art of Alchemy does not pretend to imitate in the whole work of Nature. It does not create metals, or even develop them out of the metallic first substance; it only takes up the unfinished handiwork of Nature (i.e., the imperfect metals), and completes it (transmutes metals into gold).

The New Pearl of Great Price, by Peter Bonus, 1338 AD


An alchemist then only makes the Stone in the same way that you make a tree by planting the seed and leaving it for a few years. Once the seed is set, if the conditions are right then it just grows by itself, in accordance with Nature.


For as Men, Corn and Herbs are, every one of them, generated and born out of their own Specific Seed, so or in the same manner is the true Medicine of the Ancients (than which there cannot be a better) generated and prepared out of the most perfect bodies and essence

[...] Everything generated or begotten is generated and born of his own specific seed (1) and in his proper (2) matrix.

The Chemists Key, by Henry Nollius, 1617 AD

there is no true generation, but of things agreeing in nature. So that things be not made but according to their natures. The elder or oak trees will not bring forth pears; nor can you gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles, things bring not forth, but only their like, or what agrees with the in nature, each tree its own fruit.

[...] Thus the wise man does that by art in a short time, which nature cannot perform in less than the revolution of a thousand years. Yet notwithstanding, it is not we that make the metal, but nature herself that does it. --- Nor do or can we change one thing into another; but it is nature that changes them. We are no more than mere servants in the work.

The Root of the World, by Roger Bacon, 13th Cen.


If you are wondering how this leads to the Philosophers' Stone, I will explain it more clearly. The Philosophers' Stone is a natural occurrence of Nature, in fact it is the aim of Nature. Therefore if you can find a substance which is very pure and infused with life-energy, then put it under protected conditions which are advantageous for its natural development, you will allow Nature to take its course in an accelerated manner. When this is complete, Nature will have made for you the Philosophers' Stone. It's very simple and entirely natural, which is the biggest part of the secret.

I will explain again in another way: the Philosophers' Stone is the name of the thing that you get when Nature has finished doing what it does all day long. The Earth and the entire universe is going through this process. If, however, you find a substance already quite well matured by Nature, clean it up, then put it into a closed system, or microcosm, Nature will finish this thing long before it finishes everything else. So you get the result of Nature earlier and can enjoy all its wonderful properties while the rest of the world is still in shit.


Download this book (PDF) here: The Book of Aquarius


The Book of Aquarius

Our Selection of Alchemy Books

Archidoxes of Magic: Of the Supreme Mysteries of Nature, of the Spirits of Planets, Secrets of Alchemy, Occult Philosophy, Zodiac Sign

by Theophrastus Paracelsus


The Philosopher's Stone: A Quest for the Secrets of Alchemy (Paperback)

by Peter Marshall



Philosopher's Stone
by Israel Regardie

This book presents text and analysis of three major alchemical works, approached symbolically, using the symbol systems and viewpoints of magic and psychology.
According to author, Alchemy "aspires towards the development of an integrated and free man who is illumined."

The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross (Hardcover)

by J. van Rijckenborgh


Book Description

Esoteric analysis of the Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosenkreutz anno 1459, Part I. First published in 1616, this strange story of Christian Rosycross's seven-day journey to the wedding of a King and a Queen is a Hermetic allegory intended, says Jan van Rijckenborgh, to be a guidebook for people who are actively engaged in the process of inner transformation. As he unlocks the story for us, we begin to see the means by which the original Soul dormant within us can be brought back to life and united with the Spirit. This 'marriage' is accompanied by the alchemical transformation of consciousness, soul and body.

This first volume contains the text of the first three days of The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross by Johann Valentin Andreae with extensive esoteric analysis by Jan van Rijckenborgh, 9 full-page illustrations by Johfra and a 6-page glossary of Rosicrucian terms.

About the Author

The two main authors whose works are published by the Rosycross Press, Jan van Rijckenborgh (1896-1968) and Catharose de Petri (1902-1990), devoted their lives to forming the School of the Golden Rosycross. Their goal was the formation of a group of people in whom the I-central consciousness had been shifted from its position as 'king' in their inner being, and restored to its proper role: that of 'servant' to the growing Spirit-Soul, the true Self or inner Christ. However, they were faced with the difficult task of building a bridge of understanding between this goal and the minds of people who, though they had a deep interest in the hidden side of life, saw it largely through the lens of the separative, I-central ego.

Throughout all the many hundreds of talks they gave, and the books they wrote, it is clear that their aim was to cut through the conditioning of the ego so as to give their pupils a distinct vision of what was required of them. To do this they expressed the essential teachings of Spirit-Soul rebirth in all kinds of different ways and considered them from countless angles. Often they found it necessary to speak in a rather emphatic way, and to depict in stark, bleak outlines the depth of human imprisonment in the material world. Always, they used texts, stories and symbolism drawn from all times and all places to illustrate their points, and to show that the transfiguristic path they were teaching was not new, but has been handed down - though often in veiled form - ever since the dawn of human development.

Thus, although the methods they taught were adapted to modern times, their teachings were essentially the same as those of earlier groups such as the Essenes, the Christian Gnostics, the Manichaeans and the Cathars, to name but a few.

The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius

by Clement Salaman (Translator), Dorine Van Oyen, William D. Wharton (Translator), Jean-Pierre Mahe (Translator)

   Book Cover An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosiccucian Symbolical Philosophy

Book Description

A Best Seller Since 1928 Over 1 Million Copies in Print

Discover the Secrets within the Symbolic Figures, Allegories, Oral Traditions, and Rituals of Mankind.

Twenty-Five Centuries of Wisdom

This contemporary classic of ancient wisdom concentrates the time-tested jewels of mystical experience into one exemplary source. World-reknowned expert Manly P. Hall explores the inner sanctuaries of diverse religious traditions, revealing unifying themes that lie beneath ancient mythology, philosophy, and religion, bringing to light the arcane teachings held sacred by many ancient cultures.

Wisdom you'll Cherish for All-Time

Manly P. Hall's exhaustive research concentrates the teachings of nearly six hundred distinguished authorities on religion and philosophy, bringing to you an interpretation of the secret teachings concealed within the rituals, allegories, and mysteries of all ages.

9" x 13", 254 pages plus fifty-four symbolical color plates, foldouts, and an overlay. Includes 200 line art illustrations, extensive bibliography, and complete index.

Click Here for an Interpretation of this Cover Art! The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation

by Dennis William Hauck


The latest book from Dennis William Hauck explains the history and meaning of a mysterious document that has been traced back over 10,000 years -- a time capsule of wisdom for our era that shows us how to accelerate our physical and spiritual evolution.

If you've tried to understand the alchemical and Hermetic traditions from primary sources, or translations thereof, you have probably been very frustrated. Those sources are not written to be read by the uninitiated or even the semi-initiated. Hauck has tied the tradition together from its earliest origins and made it understandable.

An emerald slab inscribed with the esoteric wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus that may be more than 2000 years old has inspired alchemists throughout history in their quest to understand the relationship between humans and the universe. Hauck, who has written about mystical experiences (Haunted Places), explores the tablet's message, drawing primarily on the work of classical scholars such as the Persian alchemist Zoroaster, the 16th-century physician Paracelsus, Pharaoh Akhenaten and the pre-Christian alchemist Maria Prophetissa to illuminate his substantial review of the history and principles of alchemy. In the Hermetic tradition, the physical and metaphysical worlds are mirror images: the transformation of a base metal into gold corresponds to the evolution of an ego-dominated person into one who possesses a permanent state of enlightened consciousness. Hauck's elucidation of the laws governing the refinement of energy, such as the Doctrine of Correspondence, the Seven Steps to Transformation and the Octave of Creation, will strike a chord with students of modern esoteric traditions such as the Fourth Way and Theosophy. His explanations of alchemical principles are difficult to understand, however, and will require scrutiny on the part of readers new to the material. However, those who have dabbled in the esoteric arts may find real gold in these teachings.

You can purchase online 
Internet Sacred Text Archive CD-ROM
by John B. Hare

The Internet Sacred Text Archive has the full text of over 500 ebooks on Religion, Mythology, Folklore, Traditions and the Esoteric. It includes all major religions' scriptures in English and the original languages, and hundreds of other books. Includes many texts scanned from rare books no longer in print. Ideal for schools, libraries and students. Books include: the Bible in English, Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the Qur'an in English and Arabic, the Vedas and Upanishads, Homer, Virgil, Dante, the Eddas, the Kalavala and even the complete works of Shakespeare. Topics include the Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Shinto, I Ching, Taoism, Confucianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Shamanism, Traditions of Australia, Polynesia, Africa and Native America; Ancient Near East, Egypt, Classics of Rome and Greece, Sagas and Legends, Wicca, Grimoires, Alchemy, Atlantis, Tarot, Atheism, Philosophy and much more.

Roger Bacon's Philosophy of Nature- A Critical Edition, With English Translation, Introduction, and Notes, of De Multiplicatione Specierum and De Speculis Comburentibus

"The name David Lindberg is certainly not new to the study of medieval science in general or of medieval optics in particular. . . . But without any doubt we have in hand now the man's masterwork, a truly first-rate book, done with consummate skill, complete in every detail. . . .
"The translations . . . are the best ever for the two Latin works . . . . And to continue with what may seem to be an advertising blurb, the notes, which are appended at the end of the explanations to the translations, are everything that one could expect from good historical study. . . .

"This is truly a beautiful book, carefully wrought to the last detail. Even the printing is exquisite. The ultimate test, to my way of thinking, for this kind of book is how parallel the Latin and English facing pages are. The English translation, in fact, is never behind the Latin text as one turns the page by more than half a line. That is perfection itself."

George March, O.F.M., Speculum

The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic (Paperback) (ltd edition) (Hardcover)
by Israel Regardie, Christopher S. Hyatt

The Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharohs
by Timothy Freke

Religious and philosophic teachings ascribed to the Egyptian sage (god) Hermes Trismegistus.

This is a book to own and meditate on the deeper meanings of its contents.

The Hermetica is an ancient Egyptian wisdom, and not Greek. 
Hermes is a Greek god equated to Tehuti: Tehuti (Egyptian) is the author of the "Hermetica", who is also called Thoth, or Hermes.

The works of Hermes were collated in the city of Alexandria in Egypt during the second and third centuries CE. The main idea in Hermes' teaching is God as Cosmic Consciousness. Similar ideas seems to me to be in other mystic outlooks of other religions.

This is a great little book for a person who has an interest in all religions and spiritual writings and traditions You can take this book and read just a few pages a day and ponder its meaning on different chapters. Over time, your understanding will increase and deepen. 

Ancient Astrology: Theory and Practice: Matheseos Libri VIII

by Julius Firmicus Maternus
(August 14, 2003)

The lengthiest astrological treatise that has come down to us. Several sections contain material that is found nowhere else.

The Last Alchemist
Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason

by Iain McCalman


chapter excerpt>>

Book Description

Freemason .. Shaman ... Prophet ... Seducer ... Swindler ... Thief ... Heretic -- Who was the mysterious Count Cagliostro? Depending on whom you ask, he was either a great healer or a dangerous charlatan. Internationally acclaimed historian Iain McCalman documents how Cagliostro crossed paths -- and often swords -- with the likes of Catherine the Great, Marie Antoinette, and Pope Pius VI. He was a muse to William Blake and the inspiration for both Mozart's Magic Flute and Goethe’s Faust. Louis XVI had him thrown into the Bastille for his alleged involvement in what would come to be known as "the affair of the necklace." Yet in London, Warsaw, and St. Petersburg, he established "healing clinics" for the poorest of the poor, and his dexterity in the worlds of alchemy and spiritualism won him acclaim among the nobility across Europe. Also the leader of an exotic brand of Freemasonry, Count Cagliostro was indisputably one of the most influential and notorious figures of the latter eighteenth century, overcoming poverty and an ignoble birth to become the darling -- and bane -- of upper-crust Europe.

Editorial Review

Cultural historian McCalman (editor, An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age) presents an enlightening account of the career of one of the most famous charlatans of the 18th century, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro. He was born poor, in 1743, in Sicily, where he began his career as a petty street thug. Setting the pattern for the rest of his life, Cagliostro was forced to flee Sicily after defrauding a local merchant. He traveled all over Europe, usually one step ahead of the authorities, spreading his brand of Freemasonry and billing himself as an alchemist and healer. Tremendously charismatic, he gained legions of followers. In Russia, he tried to convert Catherine the Great to Freemasonry, but she viewed him as politically subversive and harried him out of the country. Cagliostro's journeys finally brought him to Italy, where he was hounded as a fake by the newspapers. The amorous adventurer Casanova described Cagliostro as a fraud who fleeced the gullible. While in Italy, his wife, Seraphina, grew tired of all the traveling and the constant bad publicity, and betrayed him to the Inquisition, which, shocked by his Freemasonry and his claims to have supernatural powers, sentenced him to life in prison; he died there in 1795. McCalman's account is adeptly researched and written with a light, charming touch; as the author makes abundantly clear, the Age of Reason was also an age of mysticism and downright quackery. 26 b&w illus.

-- From Publishers Weekly

Critical Praise

“Gracefully weaves in the politics and passions of the age....Cagliostro is [an] extraordinary figure.”

--New York Times

“Perceptive, intelligent and -- by no means least -- immensely entertaining”

--Washington Post

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