Alchemy in France today - Joel Tetard

Back to alchemy texts and articles in French.


This overview is based mainly on "Fulcanelli Devoille" written by Genevieve Dubois (Dervy Publication, 91 bd Saint Germain, 75006 Paris) which is a fairly good introduction to this matter.

During the greatest part of XIXth century until to the First WW there was in France a great interest in alchemy as for Esoterism in general. A significant number of writers (Victor Hugo, Balzac, for instance), poets (Verlaine), scientists (Chevreul and Berthelot) coming from all level of society, confessed to have a strong interest in this Art.

Although Alchemy is more an individual involvement rather than a collective practice several groups dedicated to this Art were launched.

Among the most known of these groups we have to note the "Societe Alchimique de France" , "l'Ecole hermetique" and the "Groupe Independant d'Etudes Esoteriques".

We have to point out that some of these researches were not seen by their promoters as traditional or "pure" alchemical works.

For instance Jollivet Castelot, who lead the Societe Alchimique de France, spoke only of "hyperchemy" which is a way to obtain gold by chemical ways. This is linked to the great number of alchemical recipes named "petits particuliers" (see for instance Vigenere's formula based on the over-melting of lead).

Most of these alchemical groups were linked to neo-rosicrucian brotherhoods. Other groups would exists but we have no information about them.

The First World War stopped the activities of these groups and ended the first revival of Alchemy in France.

In 1926, "Les Mysteres des cathedrales", and "Les Demeures Philosophales" in 1930, both signed by Fulcanelli, were published in the complete indifference. The two books, in fact written by Canseliet (1899-1982) who used the notes of his Master, were inscribed to a mysterious "Heliopolis Brotherhood" ("Fraternite d'Heliopolis").

In the main time, Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1962), mainly known for his works on Egyptology, gathered a little group of friends (named "les Veilleurs", i.e. "the
Watchers") and founded a kind of community dedicated to the Alchemy near Saint-Moritz. This group stopped its activities in 1927 when Schwaller married and moved in the south of France.

According to G. Dubois, Schwaller worked on alchemy with Jean-Julien Champagne (a painter who was said to be the actual Fulcanelli. He did the drawings of the two published books).

In 1937 Jacques Bergier met an alchemist who was said to be Fulcanelli (born in 1839 according to E. Canseliet...). This man warned Bergier against the researches on the atom which could be a danger for the mankind.

In the maintime, Eugene Canseliet began to write several papers and was more and more known as to be the only "official" Fulcanelli's disciple. Some of these papers were collected and published in "Alchimie" (1964).

In 1960 J. Bergier and Louis Pauwels wrote "le Matin des Magiciens" which took an important place in the second revival of alchemy in France. Bergier and Pauwels' book contributed to diffuse widely the name of Fulcanelli.

Fulcanelli's "Mysteres des Cathedrales" was reprinted in 1964 with an unexpected success.

"Les Demeures Philosophales" were reprinted in 1965, and were followed by new books by Canseliet : "Mutus Liber" (1967), "L'Alchimie expliquee sur ses textes classiques" which is his philosophical will (1971), "trois anciens traites d'alchimie" (1971), "Alchimie" (reprinted in 1978) and "l'hermetisme dans la vie de Swift et dans ses voyages" (1983).

Canseliet's works were the starting point for new studies and a growing number of books or papers on this subject . For instance, Atorene published "le Laboratoire Alchimique" (Guy Tredaniel, Editions de la Maisnie) in 1980 which is an important source concerning alchemy in practice.

Up to his death in 1982, M. Eugene Canseliet was a guide for a new generation interested by alchemy: some of his students will take anplace in the French Alchemy during the 80's (for instance : J. Laplace, Solazaref, P. Riviere, Atorene...).


Thanks to Canseliet, many people are now interested in Alchemy .

According to booksellers, providers in scientific equipment and some other sources (dealers in crude ores for instance), practical Alchemy would concern more or less 1000 persons in France. Some of French "amoureux de Science" (i.e. lovers of alchemy) are said to working in this Art on a "full-time" base and very a few would succeed the Eagles of the Second Work, having the "Remora"...

The following groups are (or were) dedicated to the deferent sides of alchemy : theory, speculation practice and spituality.

Please note I am not involved in any of these groups. I was just in touch with some people who are (or where) linked to some of them. Due to this fact, I am not able to provide details on the structure of these groups. For this reason too I prefer to give only facts but no subjective or personal comments on them.


Philosophes de la Nature was a non profit organisation created by Jean Dubuis in 1979. They provided courses on Esoterism, Qabala, Alchemy and Traditional medicine.

The teaching of alchemy was mainly based on FraterAlbertus (Richard Riedel) and J Dubuis's works and is split in two parts : spagyry (i.e. vegetal alchemy, mainly) and mineral alchemy.

The organisation organised meetings and practical works sessions and provided lab wares and herbs at low prices to their members.

Philosophes de la Nature were mainly targeted at Spagyry and to the "Path of amalgams" or Flamel's Path.

Due to internal troubles, the organisation suspended its activities in 1995.

Their last known address is 12 avenue Olivier, F92250 La Garenne-Colombe

2.2. - FILIATION SOLAZAREF (or "Les Amoureux de Science").

Solazaref was previously known under the "artist-name" of Pierre d'Ouche (i.e. "Stone from Ouche" an ancient mine of antimony ore). Previously working as a Physicist, he was in close relationship with E. Canseliet.

Early in the 80's he choose to be a potter, providing alchemical materials such as retorts and crucibles.

About fifty persons decided to follow Solazaref and to live near Riom, in the centre of France.
"Introitus ad Philosphorum Lapidem" published soon after the death of Eugene Canseliet was dedicated to the Dry Path of antimony as taught by Fulcanelli's disciple.

Other books followed concerning mainly the Breve Path which is said to be in relation with Germanic and Celtic traditions. For their works in this Path Solazaref companions use "strong" energies as solar heat, explosives or lightning...

Unless their first works were dedicated to the "Dry Path of Stibnite", the main known path in alchemy since Fulcanelli and Canseliet's works, they claimed this path would be a snare build by freemasons and Jews.

Due to their political position close to Lepen's Front National and their attacks against some people writing in alchemy (Canseliet's daughter, Caro's Church, and so on), they were strongly criticised.

Solazaref's filiation grew quickly (about 500 persons were more or less in contact with them in Europe) and sub-groups were created in Belgium, Italy and USA.

However, Solazaref's group seems to have split last year, some people left the organisation and created a new one. This later group seems to be targeted to the Northern Tradition and to have no relation with alchemy.

The last known address of Solazaref's Filiation was : c/o Michel Chalon, La Tour Serviat, F63410 Manzat.

2.3. - F.A.R.C. or CARO'S CHURCH:

During the 60's, the Temple Initiatique Alchimique d'Ajunta was founded by Jean Deleuvre known also as Kamala-Jnan. (Note "Deleuvre" sounds like a pseudonym... This name could be translated as "about the Work"). A book was published with photographs showing the main steps of the alchemical work (Cinabre Path).

After Deleuvre's death, Etienne Roger Caro became the new leader of this group and changed the name of Temple of Ajunta into Freres Aines de la Rose Croix (FARC). In 1973, the organisation decided to be "asleep" for 25 years in order to match with rosicrucian traditions (?).

In fact, in 1972, Etienne Roger Caro created a new organisation : the Eglise Universelle de la Nouvelle Alliance. This later organisation seems to have stopped alchemical practices since the death of Mr. Caro.

It is possible write to Daniel Caro (son of Roger Caro) and to order some books published by Ajunta Temple. The address is : Daniel Caro
Batiment D. Chambrun
270 avenue de Pessicart
06100 Nice


This group is more dedicated to Spagyry following Paracelsus' books, rather than Alchemy, even if some of the group worked with antimony ore following the teaching of Fulcanelli and M. Canseliet.

Patrick Riviere is the leader of the group. According to his books ("Alchimie et Spagyry", Spagy-Nature would be linked to CHR+CHM which seems to be a traditional neo-rosicrusian organisation.

Patrick Riviere published some books about the theory and practice of alchemy and spagyry which could be an introduction to the actual works.

Their last known address is : Spagy-Nature, c/o P. Riviere, Les Soubadisses, F82100 Granvillar.


Other groups could exist certainly but I have no information on them. In fact, most of French alchemists work alone now or have friendly but informal relationships with their "colleagues".

"La Tourbe des Philosophes", a non profit and non periodic (indeed!) publication, is an important but weak link between all friends of Alchemy in France.

Due to the lack of articles, this review is now in real danger of disappearing.


You'll find this interesting review and send your papers (even in English) at "La Table d'Emeraude" (see annexe for address).


Most of the books given above would be available from the two following booksellers :

La Table d'Emeraude
21 rue de la Huchette,
F75005 Paris.
Tel : +33 (01) 43 54 90 96.
Fax : +33 (01) 40 51 02 67)

Librairie du Graal
15 rue J-J Rousseau
75001 Paris
Tel : +33 (01) 42 36 07 60
Fax : +33 (01) 42 36 45 58

Librairie du Graal is another good bookseller which provides books related to alchemy. They published a quarterly catalogue, available by e-mail, with a list of ancient books concerning alchemy and spagyry and other matters (astrology, kabbala, etc.)


Some other publications concerning Alchemy are available in France :

This journal is published by the Societe d'Etude de l'Histoire de l'Alchmie linked to the French University (CNRS
45, rue Saint-Maure
F75011 Paris.
This journal publishes texts from manuscripts and out-of print books.

- Petite encyclopedie des études Philosophiques-
Jean Laplace was in touch with Canseliet and wrote several books on Alchemy.
He published four "zines" concerning alchemy, spagyrie, egyptology and medicine.
Each of them could be ordered from :
Jean Laplace, Marignaostr. 26, CH-4059 Bale, Switzerland.

Some other interesting adresses :

66 rue du Cherche-Midi
F75006 Paris
+33 (01) 45 44 24 54
Catalogue are available from this bookseller who deals old and rare books on alchemy and related matters : sciences (chemistry, botanic, etc.).

30 rue de la Marseillaise
F94300 Vincennes
This review was founded in 1926 by Paul Le Cour and was dedicated to the study of Atlantis matters.
Although not realy "specialized" in Alchemy, Atlantis publishes
important issues on this matter wrote by Canseliet, and some of his "disciples" : René Alleau, Severin Battefroid, Guy Beatrice, etc. The greatest part of Canseliet's book "Alchimie" came from articles published in this review.

*3e millenaire*
B.P. 40
F75661 Paris Cedex 14
This review is published by a "non-profit organisation" dedicated to all kinds of "New-Age" matters. A special issue (No 35) on Alchemy was published recently.

In this issue I note two interesting papers :

- the first from Albert Cau provides a short introduction to his works on Pitchblende.
- the second, by Jacques Trieli, is a (very) quick survey of the Cinabre Path as shown by Caro (see above). Some interesting pictures are published too.