From Arabic al-kemi (of Egypt) and old Egyptian khem (black, fertile soil), alchemy is the ancient science of elements and interactions in both the natural and spiritual realms. Spanning 2,500 years and informed by Hermetic and Neoplatonist influences, it has been practiced in the classical Greco-Roman world, medieval Europe and the medieval Middle East and Orient, and in current esoteric circles.
This concise dictionary of alchemy provides clear access to one of the major roots of Western esoteric thought. Alchemists have three main pursuits: the transmutation of base metals into gold by means of the Lapis Philosophorum, the Philosopher's Stone; the concoction of the Elixir of Life, a universal medicine; and the reconciliation between spirit and matter and direct knowledge of the Divine. The Dictionary of Western Alchemy contains the definition and etymology of hundreds of words and symbols, all relating to these three noble pursuits.
Subjects include alchemical processes and procedures, the natural elements and apparatus used, major practitioners and philosophers, and concepts and beliefs. Distinguishing this guide from similar ones is the addition of etymology, which connects the language of alchemy to its Latin, Greek, and Arabic sources. Symbolic pictographs accompany half of the over four hundred entries, and a fascinating illustration from the long tradition of alchemical art introduces each letter of the alphabet.
Most important is the author Jordan Stratford’s unique perspective as both a modern Gnostic priest and a Freemason. He brings to bear extensive knowledge of the depth psychology of C. G. Jung, who based his key concept of individuation on the premise that what the ancient alchemists truly sought was inner transformation.
The fascinations and wonders of alchemy have been with us for a long time. Recently, it has become apparent that one of the greatest modern explorers of alchemy, C. G. Jung, has developed his own interest in this discipline on the basis of his visionary insights in his Red Book. Jordan Stratford’s fine encyclopedic work on this subject is precisely what has been missing on the shelf of every student of the “great art.” Its content is accurate, insightful and accessible!
—Stephan A. Hoeller, author of Alchemy for a Volunteer Society, The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead and other works.
A useful glossary of metals and minerals; black, red and green lions; alchemists; mythical beasts and mysterious processes. Discover the keys to the salt, sulphur and mercury of alchemy in this succinct dictionary.
—Andrew Phillip Smith, author of A Dictionary of Gnosticism
Read this dictionary! Doing so will allow you to see the world with new eyes.
— Jeffrey S. Kupperman, Ph.D.
An amazing storehouse of information, A Dictionary of Western Alchemy focuses on terms related to the history of alchemical ideas rather than the scientific aspect that is more frequently examined. With an easy-to-read introduction explaining the history of alchemy and what it means today, Stratford delivers a whirlwind tour through the ancient history of this captivating science.
Excerpted from: Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
Alchemy is written in the language of the unconscious. In A Dictionary of Western Alchemy, Jordan Stratford brings cryptic words and images alive with rich, deep and practical meaning. Heading each letter with a quote from one of the great masters adds a unique touch to this clear and concise dictionary. It is filled with fascinating etymological and historical detail. Dragon’s blood, beeswing, Red Lion – these strange words are among four hundred terms defined in this insightful work that does not spare the kind of accuracy needed in a working alchemical laboratory.
—Thom F. Cavalli, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Embodying Osiris, the Secrets of Alchemical Psychology and Alchemical Psychology, Old Recipes for Living in a New World
Stratford presents more than just a dictionary, but an impressive collection of concepts and ideas; a vocabulary for a living language. He often details his entries with notes from primary sources and biographical details of important contributors to the tradition, much to my delight. This book bids well to become a standard and a classic in the field.
—Brendan Myers, author of The Other Side of Virtue and Loneliness and Revelation