Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul
This is perhaps the best book on Alchemy to be written in this era. Burckhardt wrote both in his native German and in French. His range is tremendous: from modern science in its various forms, through Christianity and Islam, to symbolism, Art, Architecture and mythology. The present volume represents Burckhardt’s penetrating analysis of a subject that is obscure yet extremely important. This unique book aims to destroy modern misconceptions about alchemy. “If alchemy were nothing but a sham,” writes Titus Burckhardt, “Its form of expression would betray arbitrariness and folly at every turn; but in fact it can be seen to possess all the signs of a genuine ‘tradition,’ that is to say, an organic and consistent… doctrine, and a clear-cut corpus of rules.” In these pages, Burckhardt relates alchemy to some of the world’s great psycho-spiritual teachings. Most especially, he discredits the false view of alchemists as primitive chemists who tried to change lead into gold. To the real alchemist, man himself is the dull lead that by a refining process can become Gold of the Sun. This dazzling idea is the key to true alchemy, and Burckhardt shows how it can open vast and unexpected spiritual horizons. It is an extremely rich document, for there can be no doubt that Burckhardt blends in a masterly fashion a style that is eminently accessible with an insight of the utmost penetration. This book will make a considerable impact and shall provide a needed corrective for much muddled thinking.