Alchemy—The Great Work

A History and Evaluation of the Western Hermetic Tradition

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Imprint: Weiser Books
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"This is a history and evaluation of the Western Hermetic Tradition and a concise history of the philosophy and practice of alchemy from its beginnings to the 20th century. So nice to have all this in one volume if one is not fully acquainted with the subject. Alchemy is the art of transformation, and this is what our age is all about." The New Humanity
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Book Details

Pages

160 Pages

Size

5 x 7.75

Format

Trade Paperback

Pub. Date

06/01/2015

ISBN

978-1-57863-585-6

Publisher

Red Wheel Weiser

Authors

  • Author Cherry Gilchrist

    Cherry Gilchrist is a writer and lecturer and a long-time participant in Western traditions relating to Kabbala, meditation, and hermeticism. She is a graduate of Cambridge University, UK, in English and Anthropology, and holds a post-graduate diploma from the University of Bath Spa in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. As an author, Cherry has published widely on mythology, traditional culture, and inner traditions. She writes both for adults and for children, and has won a UK Reading Award for her Calendar of Festivals. Her books include The Elements of Alchemy, Stories from the Silk Road, The Circle of Nine and Divination. Many of her titles have been translated into other languages, including Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. With something of the merchant also in her blood, she has for many years visited Russia in search of beautiful lacquer miniatures and the rich heritage of Russian folk lore and craft, making a total of nearly sixty trips to Russia. She ran a Russian arts gallery in the city of Bath, England, for a number of years, and has put on leading exhibitions of Russian folk art at museums and galleries. Cherry is also a well-known lecturer, a popular speaker on Russian art and culture and inner traditions. Cherry has visited Russia over fifty times, and has researched its traditional lore as well as dealing in Russian arts and crafts, and staying on many occasions in a wooden village house deep in the Russian countryside. During her contacts with artists and villagers, as well as with museum experts and ethnographers, she not only discovered much about the regional traditions of Russia, but experienced some of them at first hand. She visited a shaman in Siberia, took part in the Maslnitsa festival in Moscow, and celebrated New Year traditional style, in the depths of a frozen forest. Cherry now lives near Stroud, in Gloucestershire, with her partner Robert, an artist. She enjoys travel, and has visited destinations as far apart as Samarkand, Easter Island, and Ethiopia. She also loves music, especially singing early music, walking in the countryside, and cookery.

  • Foreword by Mark Booth

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, psychological 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 17th century. She also elucidates the complexities of alchemical symbolism and examines the ways in which alchemy has developed in the 20th century.

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"This is a history and evaluation of the Western Hermetic Tradition and a concise history of the philosophy and practice of alchemy from its beginnings to the 20th century. So nice to have all this in one volume if one is not fully acquainted with the subject. Alchemy is the art of transformation, and this is what our age is all about." The New Humanity