Professor Terri burns gives a stunning review of two fine and limited edition
works from 'Hell Fire Club Books' which:
'constitute two critical links in the transmission of the underground current of physical alchemy':
JOURNAL OF THE WESTERN MYSTERY TRADITION
both are avaiable directly through:
A description of the books follows.....
A Facsimile Rosicrucian Alchemical Manuscript
On the Philosophers Stone.
Containing the Three Magisteriums of the Art
Attributed to Edward Kelley 1592-97
The companion of Dr. John Dee
From an unpublished handwritten notebook circa 1860 which reflects the secret
alchemical traditions of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia
and the Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn
Limited edition of 500 copies
The original notebook of 1860 appeared in the collection of a practising
alchemist, now deceased.
It has never been part of a large collection, never publicly viewed, nor its
contents printed before.
Finely bound in an edition of 500 copies, each copy in full black niger with
dark non-pareil marbled endpapers chosen to match the original manuscript
notebook. Pages sewn in signatures, endpapers stiff-leaved to the text.
To the front of each copy is a gilt talisman designed after a Rosicrucian emblem
found at the end of the manuscript: a squared cross of parallel lines enclosing
the four letters I.N.R.I. in gothic characters, surrounding a tripartite crown,
each corner of the device flanked by decorative scrolls and leaves.
The body of the text is an exact reproduction of the handwritten original,
reproduced by offset lithography onto 120gsm oyster wove paper and displaying
all the features of the manuscript pages in full.
This unique document opens with a curious history relating to the Emperor Rudolf
II and his court physician Sennert, who were involved in the discovery of an
alchemist `Kallnuss', his eventual imprisonment and attempted escape, which lead
to his `..breaking four ribs..' and dying `soon after..'. This legend of Edward
Kelleys (here misnamed Kallnuss) demise is a variant of the famous story found
in Francis Barrett's `Magus' and in Elias Ashmoles early account,; the
manuscript itself contains much material not found in any of the surviving
Kelley material (either the `Tractatus de Lapide Philosophorum' or in the
collection of texts which survived through the agency of Sigismond Bacstrom).
The alchemical traditions of the Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn are derived
through the agencies of Fredrick Hockley et al, yet it is widely believed that a
connection with the older tradition is to be sought in the German Gold und
Rosenkreuz formed in the late 1500's. Our manuscript is clearly a translation
from a German original, as we know it is Kelleys recipe, could the transmission
of the alchemic mystery in the Rosicrucian Orders have come ultimately from the
experiments of Dee and Kelley?...
Prefixed to the treatise is a chapter `Magnalia' which exhorts the aspiring
alchemist in highly religious language to be `
as cunning as the Serpent and
candid like the Dove..for who, not possessing these qualities in this sedimental
earth, will be attacked by men and beasts, even devoured by dogs..'. The path of
Initiation in the Western Mysteries is clearly alluded to here, and the work
herein described contains many deep allusions to the esoteric mysteries for
those who `know, and well consider..'.
A most curious and dark passage on
`..The Hand of the Philosophers..'
from wherein is mentioned a `Philosophical Club' to which the aspiring student
must swear and bind himself as a servant and `truly as an alchemist', to learn
the secrets of the `Hand' which contains the secrets of the masters of the art
This strange anonymous `Philosophical Club' with its religious language, its
sacred oaths, is this the invisible college of the Rosicrucian Fraternity?
Immediately following the previous passage is a lesson on the Four Lettered Name
of God and the ten qualities or `Image' of the true alchemist, an elevation to
god-like status for the natural man, the `..true footsteps of the Image..', a
work of prayer which leads to the Heart of the Father, `by which he extracted,
cleansed us, reconciled, and made us lovely to God..'..
Following is a fulsome account of the
from which the `Philosophi Adepti' prepared their `First Stone', their starry
regulae and `sap of the wise', a substance both solid, powder, and limpid
liquid, quick in its agency and startling transformations!
An extended rehearsal of its names and attributes follow, taken from Valentine,
hosellanus, Romanus, Erbinacus, Hollandus &c &c..
This same `Vitriol of the Wise' spreads as a vapour, and our author likens it
well to the potency `..thrown into the large Vessel of nature..' at the time of
the incarnation of the deity, `..opened with the menstruum which closes the
whole world..' a Rosicrucian mystical cipher for the enlivening of the natural
elements by the spirit
A careful instruction on preparing this flower `..in a glasse, in the balneum..'
which then is putrified, the crystals dried and `..you will receive in your eye
and hand an liquorum unctuosum which the Philosophers give different names..'
encompassing the dry, wet, and middle passages to the `Golden Fleece'..
Our Manuscript details both the processes of the `Dry' and `Wet' alchemical
paths, both the processes and the various secret names by which they are known,
followed by a disquisition on the Red Philosophical Egg and its procedures given
in terse language and each page bristling with alchemical signs and symbols of
the work, a hidden language of the Adepts
Next comes the largest and most significant section of the manuscript:
`..To Prepare The Red Elixir..'
Being the actual recipe for the projecting powder used by Edward Kelley in
Bohemia in the 1590's. Kelleys Famous red tincture was reputed to have been
found at Glastonbury alongside an indecipherable manuscript, but the initiated
tradition maintains that he discovered the secret himself, with the blessing of
his Angel, and practised it with great effect:
`..Edward Kelley made projection with one small grain (of the red elixir) upon
one and a quarter of common mercurie..' from which he produced an ounce of pure
Gold, as Elias Ashmole attests in his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum of 1652.
Kelley was known to have produced the second magisterium of the art, in the
healing of his one time master Willem Rozmberk, shortly before his arrest and
detention at Krikovlat. He was subsequently transported to the Castle of Moste
where he wrote the `Tractatus de Lapide Philosophorum' a general treatise of the
Stone which has none of the detail or practical instruction found in our
Page after page of the chapter of `The Red Elixir' details Kelleys experiment
and application of its secret, this unique historical document puts Kelleys
contribution to the science on a par with any of the great operative alchemists.
A series of `Questions and Answers in the Work', (an explication of the dry
path) shows an advanced practical application alongside the more mystical and
religious sentiments expressed elsewhere in the manuscript. Every hidden
operation leading up to the stage of the Red Powder is discussed with a
profusion of chymical hieroglyphs throughout the text
Simplicitas Sapientiae Sigillum
Here follows a passage on the multiplication process, its vitues in the second
magisterium (the art of healing) its stages and procedures
Purificatio Salis Mirabilis Philosophica
Where the process of preparing the `Sea of the Wise' is given in clear practical
language, followed by..
Praeperatio Menstrui Apollonici & Preparatis Menstrui Mercurialis
which give in detail the materials, equipment and procedures necessary to these
two compartments of the `Tablet' which follows, a diagrammatic illustration of
the Great Work in a four-fold process of transformation:
`..who exactly understands this Tablet wil he know how one takest origin out of
A mystical-chymical expression of the formula of Tetragrammaton expressed at the
commencement of the manuscript. More extraordinary is what follows, a complex
alphabetic cipher, given in the form of a conjuration to the reader and to the
book itself, that it fall into no unworthy hands, culminating in the final
symbolic design of the manuscript: a Rosicrucian cipher of the five elements
written in cruciform design in the letters of the name `YHSHVH' which appears in
the 18th Degree of the Rose Croix of Heredom and is ultimately derived from the
Kabbalistic speculations of Johannes Reuchlin and the renaissance magicians
Frederick Hockley/Golden Dawn
Finely bound by hand in a limited edition of 120 numbered copies.
Printed on fine laid paper hand sewn in folio; this new enlarged edition ( 290mm
x 225mm ) has each copy in quarter leather using a rich grained dark blue
goatskin, a fine cloth in deep wine red, and incorporates French marbled
endpapers of non-pareil design showing layers of reds and purples intricately
To the front board is a paper title label its design reflecting Hockleys'
characteristic interlinked circles on his title page, we announce:
From April 30th to June 15
Process of the philo-
sophers stone, and some
The original manuscript
Legend of a secret alchemical tradition within the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn has persisted, from the earliest days members were devoted to the practise
of a physical and spiritual alchemy that had its roots in the earliest
Hockleys influence on the Golden Dawn and thus upon the whole of western
esotericism is now undisputed, his priceless collection of books and papers
built up over a lifetime of buying and himself transcribing rare works informed
generations of leading adepts. Here we present a full facsimile printed
lithographically in an enlarged edition of Hockleys priceless `process of the
philosophers stone' communicated to him by the famed Rosicrucian Dr Sigismond
Bacstrom, and to him by the Comte du Chazal.
Reproduced here is Hockleys transcription of series of alchemical experiments
carried out in 1797 by Bacstrom, as part of his work in the Philosophus grade of
Chazals `Society of Rosicrucians'. Each experiment is accompanied by an
astrological chart and detailed observations on the material, apparatus, times
and conditions of the work. Diagrams of the flask, burning lamp and seals convey
the precision of Bacstroms approach, far removed from the vagaries of published
Stages of the work are clearly marked, dates and times for all the experiments
are given with the positions of the planets at the time, the measure of heat
used is given precisely, variations and alterations to the method and apparatus
are noted carefully throughout.
there are proofs here that a simple matter without any addition
might be brought to perfection
The authors exhilaration at witnessing the `Peacocks Tail' (the effective
degeneration of the substance) and its producing a most wonderful display of
bright colours which `..remain as brilliant as before..' show that this work was
clearly part of a much larger and longer series of experiments no doubt
undertaken with the direction of his initiator into the Rosicrucian mysteries.
My new subject taken from its mine June 4th 3pm 1797..'
Bacstroms operations, of which we have Hockleys precise transcript, is an unique
view into the inner world of alchemy as practised by the adepts before and at
the inception of the Golden Dawn. Described by Fulcanelli as `Archimie', it was
a process of the exaltation of gold learnt from Yardley in 1716. But it was not
only the philosophers Stone that these men were pursuing, in their search they
sought the `Animal Stone' a means of prolonging life, an inner alchemical
process whose methods lie in the earliest teachings derived from the
associations between organic life and the inner world of man.
This `Animal Stone' is a precise operation involving much detailed and careful
work, it is only given to members of the `Internal College', the inner order of
the Rosicrucian Society, and constitutes the real secret of inner alchemy
transmitted through the `Gold un Rosenkreuz' order founded in 1580.
The manuscript reproduced here is part of that genuine transmission of hidden
alchemical lore, Hockley learnt from Bacstrom, who learnt from Chazal. The Comte
Luis du Chazal in turn received it through Cagliostro, whose Egyptian Rites were
of such great interest to the founders of the Golden Dawn and their teachers in
the `Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia', the `Fratres Lucis' of Kenneth Mackenzie
and the `Society of Eight' of F.G.Irwin et al.
An early member of the Golden Dawn, the Reverend Alexandre Ayton told W.B.Yeats
that he had made an elixir of life which he had shown to a French alchemist,
undoubtably Eliphas Levi who visited England for that purpose in 1861, Levi
I have seen the secret fire produced
I know what can be done with gold, but
believe me when I say that I will never do it
Percy Bullock himself bought a copy of this manuscript, and showed it to
A.E.Waite after Hockleys death, Waite mentions this in his book `The Brotherhood
of the Rosy Cross' where he refers to
a very curious manuscript on diurnal proceedings in a laboratory undertaken
for the purposes of the Great Work
Appended to our Hockley manuscript on the alchemical operations, is another
shorter piece, a certificate and relation of an initiation into the Rosicrucian
`Copy Of the Admission of Dr Bacstrom
The Society of
The ROSY CROSS
[with the philosophic seal of the Society of the Rosicrucians]
The Compt du Chazal
At the Island of Mauritius
This short document is again an important artefact in its own right, and a link
in the chain of initiation from the earliest European Adepts through to the
founders of the Golden Dawn and all those it has influenced up to the present
The ancient charges of the Roisicrucian Society are given in full, in a style
both simple and sublime, equally respecting the admission of male and female
members into their ranks who are desirous of performing the Great Work.
At the end of the certificate is the `Seal of the Society of the Rosicrucians',
an image of angelic transformation, a circle squared and the perfection of the
the best magnet for continually attracting and preserving the
Universal Fire of Nature in the form of Incorporeal Spiritual Fire for the
regeneration of Matter