Alchemy and Mysticism
The Hermetic Museum
by Alexander Roob
Within spiritual development and the intuitive arts, symbolic images are often more powerful than words. That’s because they can easily contain ambiguity, juxtaposition and paradox, those typical attributes of life. Alchemy and Mysticism, a 500-plus-pages book about the rich pictorial legacy of alchemy, is filled with such symbolic imagery.
The art of alchemy is about transforming the base into the precious. Its outer form –making material gold in a laboratory– was replaced by modern-day chemistry. Yet its internal form –spiritual purification and the balancing of opposites– is as relevant as ever.
The imagery in the book is ancient and fascinating: the world-tree, the philosophical egg, the serpent of life and death, king and queen making love, the hermaphrodite… or meticulously worked out diagrams showing how the universe works.
But don’t expect to understand how the universe works when you finished the book, for alchemists deliberately use a covert, esoteric language.
What this book does offer, is the possibility to absorb and internalize these archetypal images, for they form a rich, living vocabulary for those who search for inner truth and harmony. When they are met with attention and we become familiar with them, alchemy’s living symbols can be re-activated and used by our higher self and the higher realms.
The symbolic language of alchemy may look weird and outdated, but it carries a perennial wisdom that can be used to personally re-imagine, and thus help re-create, our every-day reality.