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The Tower Of Alchemy: an advanced guide to the great work * David Goddard (isbn 1578631130)

I would probably not have known David Goddard if he wasn’t brought specifically under my attention. And still it took two missed workout weekends and a long time before I first laid my hand on a book by this Englishman. Quite by accident actually, I wasn’t looking for it, but when I saw this title in a shop in Utrecht (Netherlands). I decided to buy it and see what Goddard is all about.

Goddard is a student of several esoteric schools. After having been under the care of the Kabbalist Halevi from England ( and studied alchemy, hermetism, tarot, Grail legends, Keltic mythology, (vajrayana) yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism and more, he founded his own school called “The Pharos”. In close relation with his students, Goddard says to teach them the oral esoteric tradition. This is done by summercamps in England and weekends and lectures all around the world. A lot of practical instructions and teachings are given and Goddards methods include meditations and visualisations. I have never been to any of his classes, but probably still will some time.

“The Tower Of Alchemy” is Goddards best-known title. It is a practical guide divided in 17 chapters. Each chapter opens with a theoretical basis of things to follow. The book is supposed to be a step-by-step beginners book and begins fairly simple. In the theoretical parts Goddard very nicely interweaves various Western and Eastern knowledge, compares traditions and symbols and makes several very interesting links. After this follows a practical part with a meditation often involving a visualisation. After a couple of these it became clear to me that this isn’t really my cup of tea, at least not from the book. I started to skip the practical parts. After these parts you always get a ‘contemplation’ section, which is a long quote from different texts that refer to the practise you just conducted.

This book really is for people who want something else than just plain theory or absorbing information. If Goddards method appeals to you, you have the big advantage that you can easily contact ‘the master’ himself and attend a lecture or visit him in his centre in England. See for more information.

George Ripley (pbn press)

Verses From the Ripley Scrowle (from Elias Ashmole’s Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, 1652) (16)
‘A Short Worke That beareth the Name… of George Ripley’ (Ashmole 1652)
The Mystery of Alchymists
George Ripley

Three texts by another famous alchemist from the UK. The well-known Ripley-scroll comes back again as #36 of the series, but with another text and with the images, this time you get a part of the alchemical poem. The other texts are also alchemical poems.

The Ripley Scroll * George Ripley (fbn press)

Of the famous Ripley scroll there are 21 copies left in two versions, 17 in the main version, 4 in a variant. The work contains beautiful drawings, with aside those a poem-like text. Some of the more famous alchemical drawings come from this text and in this booklet you get them in an agreeable black and white quality.

Perpetual Fires, Luminous Substances and Phosphorus (fbn press)

Perpetual Fires, Luminous Substances and Phosphorus
Everburning Lights of Trithemius
Alchemical Fire in a Flash & Glow from Glow-Worms (John French, The Art Of Disillation, 1651)
The Bologna Phophorus (Vincenzo Casciorola of Bologna, 1602)
Balduin’s ‘Phosphorus’ (Christian Adolf Balduin [1632-1682])
The Preparation of Phosphorus
Rosicrucian Thoughts on the Ever-Burning Lamps of the Ancients (by W. Wynn Westcott)

As you can see this booklet is a compilation of texts about ever-burning lights. Some are informative, other instructive. Something that we will see more lateron.

Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont (fbn press)

One Hundred fifty three chymical Aphorisms. Octob. 1687
One hundred fifty seven alchemical canons Octob. 1687
Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont

A new famous alchemist in the line, this time the famous Belgian son of an alchemist who names his son “Mercurius”. Two texts with similar (al)chemical aphorisms (short lines) displaying a nice overview of the philosophy of alchemy.

Forman, Rawlin, Cibinensis and Tschoudy on alchemy (fbn press)

Of the Division of Chaos (Simon Forman (1552-1611)
Admonitio de Pseudochymicis (Thomas Rawlin 1611)
An Alchemical Mass (Melchior Cibinensis 1602)
Hermetic Catechism of Baron Tschoudy 1766

The first text is a short, alchemical poem. The second “a waning to false chymists or the philosophical alphabet”, a strange text with heavy alchemical symbolism. Then we get an even stranger text, some kind of alchemical prayer. The last is a long Q&A with is very informative and very interesting, but I personally very much dislike reading Q&As. The text goes from theory to practise and philosophy, of alchemy of course.