Alchemy: The Great Work
A Brief History of Western Hermeticism
By Cherry Gilchrist
This is a concise history of the philosophy and practice of alchemy from its beginnings to the twentieth century.
'Packed with strange stories and shiny nuggets of information, Alchemy: the Great Work is erudite but reads very clearly. But what I admire about it most is how enlightening and enlivening it is.' - Jonathan Black
Alchemy is the art of transformation. At its simplest, the alchemist turns base metals into gold. However this is only one dimension of alchemy - at a more sophisticated level the alchemist's 'base metal' is symbolic of himself that needs to be worked upon and the 'gold' produced is the alchemist himself in his or her quest to perfect his own nature. In short, true alchemy is a discipline involving physical, physiological and spiritual work aimed at producing wholeness and enlightenment.
From the origins of alchemy, both reputed and documented, Cherry Gilchrist's lively and sympathetic narrative takes the reader from the alchemical interests of the ancient Egyptians to the flowering of alchemy in the seventeenth century. She also elucidates the complexities of alchemical symbolism and examines the ways in which alchemy has developed in the twentieth century.
With an introduction by Jonathan Black
Cherry Gilchrist read English and Anthropology at New Hall, Cambridge.
She is the author of more than thirty books on a wide range of subjects.
She is married to artist, Robert Lee-Wade, and they live near Stroud in Gloucestershire, where they enjoy trying out new recipes in the kitchen and dreaming about their next road trip abroad.
Find out more at www.cherrygilchrist.co.uk
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- Publication date:
04 Jun 2015
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