"'Real Alchemy' is just what the title promises. It is the first (and so far only) book I have ever read on the subject that translates this sacred art and science from metaphor to in-your-face, hands-on objective reality. If I would have read this 35 years ago I would have taken up the alchemist's work in a heartbeat." - Lon Milo Duquette, Hermetic scholar
FOREWORD to REAL ALCHEMY by Dennis William Hauck
The book before you is an amazing accomplishment in many ways. My friend and fellow alchemist Robert Bartlett has laid bare the secret processes and experiments of our discipline with exceptional clarity and openness. He has exposed the Hermetic origins of alchemy and shown how modern alchemists approach the ancient art. But first and foremost, his book is a revelation of the genuine craft of alchemy as it was meant to be practiced.
While the work of Carl Jung and others have underscored the archetypal power and universal significance of alchemical symbols, alchemy itself is much more than a psychological commentary on the nature of the human psyche. It is true that alchemy reflects the highest aspirations of the human soul, for our gold has always symbolized the hastened perfection of man as well as matter. However, any alchemist worth his salt knows that lasting transformation only takes place when the work is accomplished on all levels of reality – the mental, the spiritual, and the physical. The Great Work is actual work to be done with the hands, the heart, and the soul, and not just understood with the mind.
A medieval alchemist brought back to our era would be highly amused at the endless discussions among modern theorists as to the nature and depth of alchemy or its sudden blossoming in the offices of psychiatrists and New Age counselors. “Has no one ever tried it?” he would ask incredulously. “What good is such understanding without its practical application in the world?”
No alchemist in history ever thought the Secret Art was solely a mental discipline. The work of transformation takes place in the real world. Yet alchemy is not chemistry. Chemistry is a superficial science that deals only with the external forms in which the elements manifest. A chemist seeks to rearrange atoms and molecules to exhibit different properties of the same dead material. An alchemist seeks to create an entirely new substance by exposing its essences, bringing them alive, and causing them to grow.
When an alchemist performs a laboratory experiment, it is the culmination of careful planning to find the right timing and personal purification to create the sacred space in which the transformation can take place. The alchemist becomes an ingredient in his own experiment, and his intention and passion contribute to the outcome. He suffers as the essences are teased and tortured from the substance, and he is elated when the hidden spark of truth brings the dead matter back to life on a new level of being.
Admittedly, this is a strange way of looking at laboratory work in a materialistic, industrialized world, and there are many prejudices the modern mind must overcome to accept the possibility that alchemy is real. Yet perhaps, after reading this book with a free heart and open mind, you might find an ancient voice speaking to you through the drone of appliances, engines, and commercial broadcasts that make up our environment. The voice will whisper: But have you tried it?
Dennis William Hauck is an author, consultant, and lecturer working to facilitate personal and institutional transformation through the application of the ancient principles of alchemy. As one of the world's few practicing alchemists, he writes and lectures on the universal principles of physical, psychological, and spiritual perfection to a wide variety of audiences that range from scientists and business leaders to religious and New Age groups. Hauck's interest in alchemy began while he was still in graduate school at the University of Vienna, and he has since translated a number of important alchemy manuscripts dating back to the thirteenth century. He is the editor of the Alchemy Journal and on the board of directors of the International Alchemy Guild. Hauck has been interviewed on nearly four hundred radio and TV programs, including such popular national shows as "NPR's Morning Edition," "Sally Jessy Raphael," "Geraldo," "A&E Unexplained," "Sightings," "Extra," and "CNN Reports." He also serves as a special consultant to a several leading film production companies and a number of popular television programs. His bestselling book, The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation (Penguin Putnam 1999), presents startling new revelations about the mysterious "time capsule of wisdom" that inspired over 3,500 years of alchemy. His latest book, The Sorcerer’s Stone: A Beginner’s Guide to Alchemy (Citadel Press, 2004), is an entertaining introduction to both practical and spiritual alchemy. He latest book is The Complete Idiots Guide to Alchemy (Penguin, April 2008).
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