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11 March 2004 @ 11:22 am
fanart today  
Updated Chira's section with two new pieces. Contemplating doing a FAQ on traditional alchemy, for anyone interested in an introduction to the origins of alchemy, and seeing lines drawn between FMA's interpretation and the original alchemists. If you've got questions on any element of alchemy, post them here or at my journal, and I'll start collating and researching the answers for ya. I've got a wealth o' texts here, but some of them may be a bit too esoteric, so I'll do my best to make the concepts comprehensible. Well, I'll try...

*still hating the lack o' DSL in my county*
 
 
Catie: kazukicatystorm on March 11th, 2004 09:27 am (UTC)
What all texts do you have? I've got about thirty or so, I'm still wading through them. And still looking for someone to translate the latin ones. x__x
scimitarsmile on March 11th, 2004 10:25 am (UTC)
Gracious. Gotta think about that one. I'm not the alchemist in the house, but having someone around who's been studying it for nearly 25 years is rather handy.

One of the better sites on the web - if you know your way around the basics - is The Alchemy Web Site, which has a number of translated texts. The alchemy expert isn't here right now, but I can at least tell you what's on the shelves. Mostly. I recently rearranged to make room, and it was every book for itself. Consider the list highly incomplete.

There's one by Fabricius, and several by John Dee, and one called something like "The True and Great Secret of the Ages" which is either Alchemy or a book on architecture that got stuck in the wrong section. There are several by G.R.S. Mead - Pistis Sophia, Orpheus, Thrice Greatest Hermes, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, Echoes from the Gnosis. Also noted a bunch more, all helpfully titled...Alchemy. Yeah, real original there.

Anyway, part of the trouble is that the really useful alchemical texts toe the line between Hermetic and Enochian. Like in the instance of John Dee - the origin of the 007 designation for James Bond, btw - he was alchemist, scientist, philosopher, and mystic. Oh, and spy, too. So when you start reading his stuff, he moves back and forth between the alchemical concepts and weaves them in with his own ideas of Enochian. Gnosticism and Hermeticism also show up, because of the prevalence in Alchemy of 'knowing your self' and 'knowing god directly' - with the undercurrent that the Philosopher's Stone might make one closer to God, if not A god.

Hrm. Enough for now, I guess. I'm not sure if I answered your question - since I can't really list without running up and down the stairs from the library to the study! - but hopefully that website might have translations for some of the texts you own. I do know that we have a great deal of printed material run off from BBSs years and years ago, when some brave souls typed in a number of older books. Now, of course, we have friends scan the texts in London or Paris, burn the pictures on CD, and send them to us. Heh.

Ah, technology! ;D
Catie: catie occatystorm on March 11th, 2004 07:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, it sounds as though you have a lot of nice stuff at your fingertips. I'm jealous. Most of my stuff is translated into digital, and sent to me by my friend's brother. I think the guy is turning into a Giles ... all you have to do is ask about an arcane text and he can dig it up, either in whole or in part. It's rather impressive.

Now, however, you have to explain this John Dee thing and how he's related to James Bond. What is the 007 designation actually from? That really piqued my curiousity, I come from a long line of Bond fanatics. Er, well, perhaps not too long, but my father has been a Bond fanatic since he was 10 and has indoctrinated my brother and I the same. So now I need to know. :D
scimitarsmile on March 11th, 2004 07:26 pm (UTC)
John Dee was Queen Elizabeth's top spy. (He makes an appearance in the movie, Elizabeth, btw.) Anyway, all of his missives to Elizabeth, when reporting in his capacity as a spy, were signed 007. Being somewhat familiar with Dee, I'd be willing to bet that 007 was a number with some kind of magical or philosophical importance, but the bottom line is that it was his code name. He was not, however, a lady's man - AFAIK - being married for some time, although I think his wife died in childbirth with their third child, and he didn't marry after that. *ponders* The alchemist in the house is now upstairs playing some computer game, so it's Do Not Interrupt Time. Heh. Will ask later, to make sure.

Anyway, when the Bond books were written, the author was apparently aware of this, and tapped into it - keeping in mind that Bond was being written when the second Queen Elizabeth had just been crowned, if I recall correctly. And since he's in Her Majesty's Royal Service... Y'know, just one of those little things authors like to do. It's not exactly a hidden secret, since as I understand it, a number of Dee's letters to Elizabeth are on display at the Tower, or one of the major London libraries. Can't remember right now.
Catie: yoooosh!catystorm on March 11th, 2004 07:38 pm (UTC)
You know, I think I've actually heard of him now that I hear the story. I just didn't recognize the name. It's a really nifty piece of trivia though, I will definitely have to spring it on my Dad sometime. Thanks for elaborating. ^_~x