A long, loooong time ago, I took Chemistry 10. The periodic table was my favorite part of the subject. All those neat little categories that defined the properties of each group of elements organized in visual fashion. Change the number of protons and neutrons around and you got a completely different substance. I loved it. My teacher even had a bit of hope for me in the field, until the day we were discussing radioactive elements. The idea that they could be changed by bombarding them with other particles, or that they even naturally transmuted themselves into other elements, was fascinating. "So," I piped up, "the alchemists were right! If you were able to alter the number of protons and neutrons in lead, you could change it into gold." His face said it all. I stuck with ballet.
Later on I read a couple of books called The Dancing Wu Li Masters, and The Tao of Physics. They are both "physics lite", but they made a persuasive case that western science's research into quantum physics was unknowingly validating eastern mysticism. It gave me a giggle to picture a lab-coated researcher and saffron-r0bed monk backing into each other in the dark.
Much later on I read more about Alchemy. To my surprise, it turns out not to be a fanciful medieval superstition, but a system of mystical development as valid as that of the East, but suited to the psyche of the West. All of this business of turning lead into gold and other "operations" were metaphors for stages of physical, emotional, and intellectual development. To create the Philosopher's Stone, or achieve the Great Work, was to bring oneself to a height of soul development granted to very few, and only after a lifetime of work. If a person approached the subject in a literal, material way (i.e. for gain or power), he naturally weeded himself out of the field where the real knowledge was to be found. A person like that couldn't be trusted with real knowledge.
Yet, well attested stories persist that base metals were indeed turned into gold by adepts. From The Grail Series :
" In 1666, Johann Friedrich Schweitzer, physician to the Prince of Orange, was visited by a stranger who was "of a mean stature, a little long face, with a few small pock holes, and most black hair, not at allcurled, a beardless chin, about three or four and forty years of age (as I guessed), and born in North Holland."
Before I finish the story, it needs to be pointed out that Dr. Schweitzer, who was the author of several medical and botanical books, was a careful and objective observer and was a colleague of the philosopher, Spinoza. Schweitzer was a trained scientific observer; a reputable medical man, and not given to fraud or practical jokes. And yet, what I am about to describe is, in modern understanding, impossible.
Now, what happened was that the stranger made small talk for awhile and then, more or less out of the blue, asked Dr. Schweitzer whether he would recognize the "Philosopher's Stone" if he saw it. He then took out of his pocket a small ivory box that held "three ponderous pieces or small lumps... each about the bigness of a small walnut, transparent, of a pale brimstone colour." The stranger told Schweitzer that this was the very substance sought for so long by the Alchemists. [....]
The guy leaves at this point and promises to return the next morning to show Schweitzer the correct way to perfom the transmutation but,
"The next day he came not, nor ever since. Only he sent an excuse at half an hour past nine that morning, by reason of his great business, and promised to come at three in the afternoon, but never came, nor have I heard of him since; whereupon I began to doubt of the whole matter. Nevertheless late that night my wife... came soliciting and vexing me to make experiment... saying to me, unless this be done, I shall have no rest nor sleep all this night... She being so earnest, I commanded a fire to be made - thinking, aslas, now is this man (though so divine in discourse) foudn guilty of falsehood... My wife wrapped the said matter in wx, and I cut half an ounce of six drams of old lead, and put into a crucible in the fire, which being melted, my wife put in the said Medicine made up in a small pill or button, which presently made such a hissing and bubbling in its perfect operation, that within a quarter of an hour all the mass of lead was transmuted into the ... finest gold."
The famous philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, who lived nearby, came the next day to examine this gold and was convinced that Schweitzer was telling the truth. The Assay Master of the province, a Mr. Porelius, tested the metal and pronounced it genuine; and Mr. Buectel, the silversmith, subjected it to further test that confirmed that it was gold.
And then there's this:
Twenty years before Schweitzer's meeting with the mysterious stranger, Jan Baptista van Helmont, who was responsible for several important scientific discoveries, and was the first man to realize that there were other gases than air; and who invented the term "gas," wrote:
"For truly I have divers times seen it [The Philosopher's Stone], and handled it with my hands, but it was of colour such as is in Saffron in its powder, yet weighty, and shining like unto powdered glass. There was once given unto me on fourth part of one grain [16 milligrams]... I projected [it] upon eighty ounces [227 grams] of quicksilver [mercury] made hot in a crucible; and straightaway all the quicksilver, with a certain degree of noise, stood still from flowing, and being congealed, settled like unto a yellow lump; but after pouring it out, the bellows blowing, there were found eight ounces and a little less than eleven grains of the purest gold."
Remember it's the Philosophers Stone that makes this purported transmutation possible and the study of alchemy is about creating the Philosopher's Stone. It has struck me that the whole business of actually turning lead into gold and all that could be a way of validating that the mystical goal had been achieved. We westerners do like confirmation of things, after all.
With that in mind, we come to Fulcanelli, supposedly a real live nineteenth century alchemist, living and working long after the Age of Reason was supposed to have banished alchemy to the realm of myth. In the article "The True Identity of Fulcanelli and The Da Vinci Code", by Laura Knight-Jadczyk, she proposes among other things, that not only was Fulcanelli a real person, that he was prominant French scientist engaged in the study of the sun. One of Fulcanelli's books is dedicated to "The Brothers Heliopolis". Her acquaintance with Patrick Riviere provided an invaluable set of clues to identifying Fulcanelli. Msr. Riviere is a most credible source, as he was a long-time student of Eugene Canseliet, the disciple of Fulcanelli. Further, Msr. Riviere has documentation attesting to the idea that Fulcanelli is still among the living. Not surprising since, those who achieve the Great Work are supposedly able to step in and out of the flow of "time" at will.
These ideas are discussed more fully in a new book "The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive". Msr. Rivere has written a forward to the book:
The Secret History of The World
This book of revolutionary importance is essential reading. With this
original work, Laura Knight-Jadczyk shares with us her prodigious
discoveries that put into question History as well as our habitual
observations concerning the myth of the "Grail". She does this by revisiting
the Bible and comparative mythology, looking closely into parallel universes
and hyperspace, and penetrating into quantum physics, genetics, and the
mysteries of the diverse creations populating the hyperdimensions of the
Throughout her expose, Laura Knight-Jadczyk refers to two powerful works of the scientist-alchemist Fulcanelli: The Mystery of the Cathedrals and Dwellings of the Philosophers. She applies her vast knowledge to the continuation of his work.
Thus, following in the footsteps of Fulcanelli (citing Huysmans) when he
denounces the constant lies and omissions from official History over the
course of time, Laura Knight-Jadczyk, citing numerous examples, exposes the manipulations in the official history of ancient civilizations of which
humanity is the victim. She strives to re-establish the truth, and her
answers are often enlightening.
According to Laura Knight-Jadczyk, the mysteries of the Holy Grail and the
Ark of the Temple refer to a particular, very advanced "technology" - with
the aim, for example, of teleportation and changing between space-time
dimensions - a secret and sacred science of which only a few great
"Initiates" have remained custodians. Christ Jesus was the surest guarantor
of this precious legacy, and, although it might displease Dan Brown (author
of The DaVinci Code), the genealogical lineage of the "Sangréal" (the "Sang
Royal" or "Holy Blood"), is not at all as he believes it to be!
The reader of this important work by Laura Knight-Jadczyk will realize that
there are completely different conclusions to that mystery. Her erudition
cannot but impress the reader during the course of an assiduous reading of
this quite astonishing book. As to her inspiration, what can we say, and,
from whence could it come, if not the Light of the stars?
Patrick Riviere is a writer and author of numerous works that have been
published in France and that have been translated and published in many
languages. He is a specialist on the '"Grail" (On the Paths of the Grail) and of Alchemy following the path of Fulcanelli
I still can't wait to get my copy. Maybe one for my old chemistry teacher too!