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The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation Paperback – March 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140195718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140195712
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An emerald slab inscribed with the esoteric wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus that may be more than 2000 years old has inspired alchemists throughout history in their quest to understand the relationship between humans and the universe. Hauck, who has written about mystical experiences (Haunted Places), explores the tablet's message, drawing primarily on the work of classical scholars such as the Persian alchemist Zoroaster, the 16th-century physician Paracelsus, Pharaoh Akhenaten and the pre-Christian alchemist Maria Prophetissa to illuminate his substantial review of the history and principles of alchemy. In the Hermetic tradition, the physical and metaphysical worlds are mirror images: the transformation of a base metal into gold corresponds to the evolution of an ego-dominated person into one who possesses a permanent state of enlightened consciousness. Hauck's elucidation of the laws governing the refinement of energy, such as the Doctrine of Correspondence, the Seven Steps to Transformation and the Octave of Creation, will strike a chord with students of modern esoteric traditions such as the Fourth Way and Theosophy. His explanations of alchemical principles are difficult to understand, however, and will require scrutiny on the part of readers new to the material. However, those who have dabbled in the esoteric arts may find real gold in these teachings. 43 illustrations. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

There is no phenomenon of Western culture more surprising and perennially fascinating than that of alchemyAthe endless search of learned fanatics for the secret of making gold, or wisdom, or both. Hauck, a practicing alchemist, is the latest in a line of re-inventors of the old tradition, and his reflections on the inner meaning of calcination, coagulation, and other alchemical processes is both idiosyncratic and fascinating. Highly recommended for larger libraries, or where books on occult traditions are popular.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Dennis William Hauck is an author, consultant, and lecturer working to facilitate personal and planetary transformation through the application of the ancient principles of alchemy. He writes and lectures on the universal principles of physical, psychological, and spiritual transformation 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, where he was initiated into the craft by a practicing alchemist from Prague.

Hauck has since translated a number of important alchemy manuscripts dating back to the fourteenth century and has published over a dozen books on the subject. His "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy" (Penguin Alpha 2008) is considered the best introduction to alchemy available today, and his "The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation" (Penguin 1999) presents Hauck's original research about the mysterious artifact that inspired over 3,000 years of alchemy. His "Sorcerer's Stone: A Beginner's Guide to Alchemy" (Penguin Citadel 2004) is an entertaining introduction to practical and spiritual alchemy. He is currently working on a sequel to "The Emerald Tablet" entitled "Secret Science of the Emerald Tablet: The Spiritual Chemistry of Alchemy."

His books have been featured in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Harper's, and hundreds of other periodicals. He has been interviewed on over 300 radio and TV programs, including "NPR's Morning Edition," "Sally Jessy Raphael," "Geraldo," "The O'Reilly Factor," "Extra," and "CNN Reports."

Hauck holds lectures and workshops throughout the world on the various aspects of practical, mental, and spiritual alchemy. He is founder of the International Alchemy Conference (, an instructor in alchemy (, and is president of the International Alchemy Guild ( His websites are,, and

Hauck is a professional member of the ASSC (Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness), the AMS (American Mathematical Society), CRS (Center for Research in Science), ATP (Association for Transpersonal Psychology), and ISSSEEM (International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine).

Customer Reviews

Interesting note and attempt on the author's part.
I love his use of personal stories to exemplify a step of the transformation process.
V. L. Garland
This is a very practical book and one I enjoy reading often.
Mark Stavish, The Institute for Hermetic Studies

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Anne on May 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book serves as a plain language introduction to alchemical symbolism and concepts. It includes an English translation and line-by-line explication of the Emerald Tablet. It also devotes a complete chapter to each of the seven operations of alchemy and includes several black and white illustrations from traditional treatises on alchemy. Unfortunately, the author spends a little too much time attempting to demonstrate his personal alchemical achievements, with results that can be downright silly ("Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know" -Lao Tzu). The suggested exercises are unhelpful (for greater benefit, I would recommend taking up a discipline like yoga), the inclusion of celebrity star signs (not to mention a subchapter called "The calcination of William Shatner") undermines the credibility of the whole, and the absence of a strong editor shows up in several avoidable errors (using the word "courtesan" for "courtier", referring to Antonin Artaud as a 19th-century figure, etc.). Still, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a basic guide to alchemical processes and symbolism.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Laura De Giorgio on October 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book is most suitable for people who are new to alchemy because it is written in a very simple language. In this book Dennis takes the verses from the Emerald Tablet, as a pattern for seven stages of alchemical transformation, and applies it to different areas of human development. He provides numerous examples which are intended to facilitate the understanding of each stage of alchemical transformation, but in my opinion, some of these examples don't quite make it.

The book will nevertheless be very helpful to a beginner to get an idea about the seven stages of alchemical transformation - to actually know them, one will have to experience them - and the later stages of alchemical transformation seem to be beyond the scope of this book - at least I have that impression based on the examples provided.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Tevis Fen-Kortiay on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Caveat Emptor - Mr. Hauck has combined his favorite elements from fictional stories and legends around alchemy (and UFOs and Star Trek and other non-related personal interests) and misrepresented them as factual history. A few examples of Hauck's adversarial relationship with facts:

- On page 1 of the introduction Hauck claims that the "Emerald Tablet" document (the indisputed seminal document behind alchemy) is 10,000 years old. This was indeed the claim of Renaissance alchemists who didn't know any better, but modern historians have reliably dated the oldest known copy to the Kitab sirr al-asrar (Secret of Secrets) from 1120 A.D. There's also the niggling point that writing was only invented around 3,500 BC - so Hauck is claiming the Emerald Tablet was written 4,500 years before the invention of writing!

- Hauck inaccurately refers to Hermes (the Greek God) and Hermes Trismegistus (alleged flesh-and-blood author of the Hermetica) interchangeably.

- Hauk relates the story of Apollonius of Tyana (whom he inexplicably refers to using his Arabic name, Balinas) as though it were historical fact. In fact there is almost no historical information on Apollonius; the best we have is the Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Pythagorean (who was born 50 years after Apollonius died), which historians regard as fiction.

If you're looking for an introduction to Jungian-style personal transformation using alchemy as a metaphor, but find Jung himself too dense, don't care for the many well-written Jung summaries, and you don't mind that the "facts" on which Hauck's argument is grounded are mostly wishful thinking contradicted by history, you might enjoy this book as an easy-to-read fiction which does indeed convey the basics of alchemy as a system for personal transformation. Otherwise steer clear!
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By F. Presson on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you've tried to understand the alchemical and Hermetic
traditions from primary sources, or translations thereof,
you have probably been as frustrated as I was. Those sources
are not written to be read by the uninitiated or even the
semi-initiated. Hauck has tied the tradition together from
its earliest origins and made it understandable. I looked for
my copy of _The Emerald Tablet_ to be able to cite details for
this review, but it's making the rounds of my circle of friends
right now. I may just have to buy another.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mark Stavish, The Institute for Hermetic Studies on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
"The Emerald Tablet - Alchemy for Personal Transformation" by Dennis William Hauck is an interesting read. Filled with examples from his life and those whom he has known - including William Shatner of Star Trek fame - of how alchemical principals works in daily life, "Tablet" also places the process in its vast historical perspective in an informative and somewhat of a page-turner fashion. While "Tablet" does not contain laboratory directions, it does have a great deal of information that is important for practicing alchemists, so that they can see the effects in their 'outer' life of what is happing on the 'inner'. An ideal read for anyone interested in self-transformation, Jungian alchemy, and as said, laboratory work as well. This is a very practical book and one I enjoy reading often. Hauck is a well known and respected author and teacher on alchemy, and I have enjoyed my brief discussions with him. His students have been generous in their discussion of him to me as well.
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