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A Dictionary of Western Alchemy
Jordan Stratford, Jeffrey S. Kupperman
ISBN: 9780835608978
Book (Paperback)
Quest Books
$17.95
6 x 9
160 pages
November 1, 2011


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"An extremely useful compilation of alchemic terms and symbols, explained with admirable clarity. Anyone interested in alchemy for its own sake or as an important cultural stream in Western thought will benefit from having this work to consult." -Excerpted from: Theosophy Forward

"Alchemy is written in the language of the unconscious. In A Dictionary of Western Alchemy, Jordan Stratford brings cryptic words and images alive with rich, deep and practical meaning. Heading each letter with a quote from one of the great masters adds a unique touch to this clear and concise dictionary. It is filled with fascinating etymological and historical detail. Dragon’s blood, beeswing, Red Lion – these strange words are among four hundred terms defined in this insightful work that does not spare the kind of accuracy needed in a working alchemical laboratory" --Thom F. Cavalli, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Psychology, and Alchemical Psychology: Old Recipes for Living in a New World
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From Arabic al-kimia (of Egypt) and old Egyptian keme (black, fertile soil), alchemy is the ancient science of elements and interactions in both the natural and the spiritual realms. Spanning 2,500 years and informed by Hermetic and Neoplatonist influences, it has been practiced in the classical Greco-Roman world, medieval Europe and the medieval Middle East and Orient, and up to the present in esoteric circles. Alchemists have three main pursuits:

  • the transmutation of base metals into gold by means of the Lapis Philosophorum, the Philosopher's Stone;
  • the concoction of the Elixir of Life, a universal medicine;
  • the reconciliation between spirit and matter and direct knowledge of the Divine


This concise dictionary of alchemy provides clear access to one of the major roots of Western esoteric thought. Subjects include alchemical processes and procedures, the natural elements and apparatus used, major practitioners and philosophers, and concepts and beliefs. Distinguishing this guide from similar ones is the addition of etymology, connecting the language of alchemy to its Latin, Greek, and Arabic sources. Symbolic pictographs accompany half of the over four hundred entries, and a fascinating illustration from the long tradition of alchemical art introduces each letter of the alphabet.

Most important is the author Jordan Stratford’s unique perspective as both a modern Gnostic priest and a Freemason. He also brings to bear extensive knowledge of the depth psychology of C. G. Jung, who based his key concept of individuation on the premise that what the ancient alchemists truly sought was inner transformation.

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