Monday, December 20, 2010

Bruno's Execution, Jacob's Ladder


  1. this is really interesting... do you study them?

  2. i agree this is really interesting.
    And if you do study alchemy mind if you can tell us more or it?

  3. Hi thanks for the comments. Yeah I study alchemy which I consider to fall under the umbrella of "Renaissance Magic." I have taught a course on alchemical illustrations to grad students at Graduate Theological Union, and attended a conference on alchemy in the history of science. I created this blog and Teaching Alchemy in order to get some writing done summarizing my experiences, and I hope to get some posts up here very soon with thoughts on various issues in alchemy studies. If you have any specific questions about alchemy research, or any of these images, feel free to ask me in a comment.

    some information on the class I taught can be found at

  4. I am so glad that you Study alchemy. I started some Research on it to. I came across something though. Every time i would search up alchemy it would talk about this "Anime" called FullMetal Alchmist. It talked about Transmutation circles or alchemy used to change for example lead into gold. does alchemy really use transmutation cirles? And it also Talked about the Philosopher's Stone? can i have some info on that to?

  5. look at the links on the sidebar for some of the best scholarly writing on alchemy. transmutation circles isn't part of historical alchemy it's a bit of literary license (speaking of which--magical circles in ritual magic are a somewhat late development not attested in earlier medieval sources afaik)

    the philosopher's stone is a long story. it's the substance that a successful alchemical operation would supposedly produce, with the power to do transmutation or extend life, etc. if you look at Adam McLean's alchemy website you can find many old alchemical writings on the philosopher's stone in english translation, I'd recommend you try those if the scholarly writings on alchemy are too dense.

  6. Hello Mr Hand
    I appreciate your work in the field of alchemy.
    I've been watching Fullmetal Alchemist since my childhood and that what inspired to study and do research on alchemy and immortality . My research for alchemy is based more upon the myths and scientific legends of Japan and Middle East of Asia. And I've read certain English Renaissance dramas like Dr. Faustus , The Seven Deadly Sins , and plays by Ben Jonson but they all give the same impression and sounds more like myths and as a failure upon the study of alchemy.

    Btw am Koshal Amit, under grad student from the University of Delhi.

  7. Hello Jane
    Alchemy is often said to be the fake knowledge or chemistry that hovers around the concept of equivalent exchange and the truth that alchemy represents "All in One and One in All " (use your own head to understand).
    I call alchemy fake because the goals were so unrealistic, and because alchemist had so little success in achieving them, you'll be shocked to know that the practitioners of alchemy in the Middle Ages got a reputation as fakers and con artists.
    well my research studies lead to difference criticism and unsuccessful attempts to understand the true nature of alchemy . I wonder how is it possible to catalyze life with something called "philosopher stones" via "human transmutation" !! hahaa :D sounds more like unrealistic and funny but there're hopes and possibilities so cant say much about it now. :)

    The study of Alchemy is very dense and broadmindedness is required to do such structures . And most important keep watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (Hiromu Arakawa version) in Animax or online for further basic knowledge on alchemy. Its great ...i love FMA alot :)

  8. Not to intrude on a intelligemt conversation, but ive noticed that in these pictures there are stair cases or ladders that go up into the sky or toward a heavenly object- what does this mean?

    1. it represents the 7 alchemical steps in the alchemical ladder. It represents the 7 chakras and seven base metals. The first step is called calcination which is the process or burning a substance and is aligned with the roots chakra, the planet saturn and lead and whose element is obviously fire

      The second step is called dissolution which is ruled by jupiter, the metal tin and represents the sacral chakra and its element is water

      the third separation

      the fourth conjunction

      the fith is fermentation

      the sixth is distillation

      and the final is called coagulation

      for time sake i wont go too deep into it but the ladder is basically a representation of turning lead into gold in order for it to make more sense its more practical to apply that in a spiritual sense instead of a literal turning lead into gold

  9. I have been a student of alchemy and hermeticism and various other occult subjects. I find your page very interesting in these fields. Thank you.

  10. This is very cool and interesting I like the imagery. Are these images in the public domain?