Tag Archives: Adam McLean

How To Read Alchemical Texts – Adam McLean (2011)

Alchemywebsite.com

During my early days on the internet I had an interest in all kinds of things esoteric. I soon found Adam McLean’s Alchemy website which he started in 1995. McLean was mostly known for coloring alchemical drawings that most knew only in black and white. This was but on small part of the alchemical investigations that McLean has undertaken since the 1970’ies (!).

The website still looks pretty much like it used to. An html website with images for navigation. Now I see that the author gives urls on his website in his many books, I get an idea why that never changed.

For many years I forgot about McLean and his website even though I do buy an occasional book about Alchemy. Recently I thought to see what books are available and I noticed that there are several study courses. Some somewhat expensive, but this particular one is well-priced.

It is a 219 page book with 23 lessons that McLean suggests you take about a year to work through. Each lesson is introduced and most contain excercises. During the lessons you are introduced to different kinds of alchemical texts, practical, philosopical, Paracelsian, spiritual, cosmological, allegorical and poetic. Also McLean explains different styles and approaches. You will learn to recognise the different types of texts and will see that often one text contains different types.

The reason for the above is, and McLean keeps stressing this, to make you able to read the text as it was supposed to be. He renderings, rewritings and explanations stay as close to the original texts as possible. McLean sees no use in throwing in wild esoteric explanations to a practical text and no modern systems in allegorical. Do not read a meaning into the texts is the basis for the whole course.

The book contains no images, no tables with symbols and their explanation, even hardly a glossary. These are not the texts that the author presents. It is all about reading Alchemical texts.

As you saw, you will get a wide variety of Alchemical texts, old, less old and from practical to cosmological (but never esoteric!). Personally I did not enjoy all these different texts, but it is nice to be able to read such a variety of sources, particularly because there are also texts that are not all available in English.

2011 Alchemy Website

The Rosicrucian Emblems Of Daniel Cramer – Fiona Tait / Adam McLean (0933999887)

This small (80 pages) and very expensive (about E 17,- / $ 15,-) book is a translation of the “Sacra Scriptura, de Dolcissimo Nomine & Cruce Iesu Christi” written by “Daniele Cramero D.” The “Sacra Scriptura” was published in Germany in the year 1617, just one year after the famous “Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rozencreutz” that caused a big stir in the society of these times. Still the “Sacra Scriptura” is fairly unknown.

There are 40 emblems, each accompanied by a quote from the Bible and two lines in latin. The texts are translated by Fiona Tait. The emblems the Protestant theologian drew are really simple and nothing like the famous “secret symbols of the Rosicrucians”, which on first hand made me feel a little disappointed. I love the layered symbology and the mathematic design of for example the secret symbols. But, when reading through this little book here, the drawings together with the quotes and ‘poems’ are actually quite beautiful. It seems that there were meant for meditative purposes.

This little book is part of the series “Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks” that is run by Adam McLean, probably the expert on Alchemy/Hermeticism of our times. He wrote the introduction and commentary which shed some extra light on this little work. The Sourceworks series contains some other titles that I find extremely interesting, so I think I will get some more in the future. Just imagine, the “Splendor Solis” in english with images, “The Amphitheatre Engravings Of Heinrich Khunrath”, “The Steganographia Of Trithemius”, the “Alchemical Engravings Of Mylius”, the “Atalanta Fugiens of Michael Maier” and the list continues. McLean makes classical alchemical writings available to a normal audience.