Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks Series
This series of limited edition hand-bound books by Adam McLean were initially produced between 1979 and 1986. They were never sold through book dealers, but only by direct mail order. Consequently, these books became collectors items, often fetching high prices on the second-hand market. Only a few copies remain of some of the older titles in this series and a number are now entirely sold out. Since 1997 fourteen new titles have been issued with more in preparation.
No. 29. Michael Maier - The Viatorium
Edited with an Introduction by Adam McLean
This is Michael Maier's detailed survey of the seven planetary metals. The 'Viatorium' of the title refers to a device such as a compass which shows us the way on a difficult journey. It is divided into seven chapters, one for each of the planetary metals, and in each he explores whether that particular metal could be transformed into gold, whether a gold-making tincture could be extracted from it, and finally its medicinal uses. It is a clearly written work, and could well be seen a manual of inorganic chemistry in early seventeenth century terms. This is not one of Maier's mystical allegorical works on alchemy, such as his Arcana arcanissima, Atalanta fugiens or Intellectual Cantilenae, but is a kind of survey of the alchemical knowledge about the seven metals. Maier wrote a stream of about fifteen works in the period 1614 through to 1622, from the Arcana arcanissima to the Intellectual cantilenae. These are all very different in tone and take different perspectives on alchemy. Maier as a writer certainly was a chameleon. His Viatorium demonstrates the clarity of his thought, his ability to judge and sift the erroneous and misleading in alchemy from what might possibly be of value and substance.
Limited edition of 300 signed and numbered hardbound copies. 116 pages. 7 illustrations.
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