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     Study Course on early English alchemy by Adam McLean
The study course is now available as a downloadable pdf file..


I asked Philosophy how I should,
Have of her the thing I would,
She answered me, when I was able,
To make the Water malleable,
Or else the way, if I could find,
To measure out a yard of wind:
Then shall you have your own desire,
When you can weigh an ounce of Fire,
Unless you can do these three,
Content yourself, you will not get me.

These delightfully teasing anonymous verses perhaps sum up the essence of early English alchemy. Much of the English alchemical writings of the 14th to 17th centuries, is full of allegory and enigma, but well expressed and intriguing. This was recognised by the 17th century antiquarian Elias Ashmole, who decided to collect this material and put it into print and this was issued in 1652 as the famous Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, the 'theatre' or manual of English alchemy. It contains the major writings of Ripley, Norton and Charnock among others.

Though this book is readily available today to people in cheap facsimiles and on the internet, it is rarely read and certainly mostly misunderstood. This is partly due to the old English, with the many spelling variations and the use of words whose meanings have changed or become obsolete in modern English. This makes the work rather opaque to anyone who has not previously studied early English material, and must be completely infuriating to people whose first language is not English. In order to remedy this, Adam McLean has devised this study course which leads the reader through most of the material in the book. Each lesson provides a transcription into modern English together with an analysis and explanation of the key points made in these key alchemical writings.

For the first time each of the works will be explained line by line, section by section, idea by idea. Adam McLean allows the work itself to speak its message clearly, rather than adopting the style of most modern commentators on alchemical texts, who instead of trying to understand the works in themselves, project their own philosophical or esoteric ideas onto the texts, thus further confusing and burying the message of the original alchemists. This course will be entirely based on understanding the texts themselves and not on such external preconceptions.

McLean does not resort to mystification, supposed secret teachings, or trying to explain these works through the filter of modern esotericism, nor by appealing to external (and later) sources, but instead focuses on what is contained in the texts themselves.

If you prefer to have these works explained through the filter of Jungian, theosophical, kabbalistical-magical, or 20th century esoteric perspectives, then please do not take this course. This is only for those who would prefer to understand what the original writers intended to say, not the spurious speculations of many writers today who do not seem to love alchemy for itself, but only look into alchemical texts to confirm their own philosophical preconceptions.

The course is entirely self contained, and though not designed for beginners, does not assume any particular previous study of alchemical material. It provides for the first time a detailed explanation of a substantial body of alchemical texts. This course of 24 lessons is intended to last for one year with lessons to be studied on a fortnightly schedule.

By purchasing this course you must agree to use this for the purposes of private study only and not to distribute the course material (whether text or graphics) to any other individual.

DOWNLOAD

The course is now also available as a download. After you purchase a copy you will be emailed a link through which you can download a personalised copy as a pdf file. If I am in my workshop this can take a little as a couple of hours, but it may take a few days, say over the weekend or if I am not immediately available to deal with the order.
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  $25
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If you have any questions before you purchase this course please email Adam McLean adam@alchemywebsite.com


Please note these lessons are copyright ©2004 Adam McLean, and no part may be reproduced or distributed in any form (including the Internet) without the permission of Adam McLean.