Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Isaac Newton and the Transmutation of Alchemy: An Alternative View of the Scientific Revolution Paperback – July 7, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
had a pivotal effect on the later course of Western civilization. A large fraction of the references
are new to me, and sound quite interesting.
In a way, the book takes off on John Maynard Keynes's statement that Newton was "the last alchemist." I have read a number of biographies of Newton, which make him sound like 90% a cardboard character whose entire life could pass a very narrow peer review, and 10% a sheer nasty small lunatic. The book gives many pointers to other aspects of Newton's life
essential to really understanding his perspective. But in the end... it makes me think of a critique by Aleister Crowley of
Karl Marx's view of religion. An antithesis has been badly needed here, but this is not the kind of synthesis which lets us truly appreciate the synthesis.
To set the stage, the first two parts of the book are mainly about John Dee (whom the author clearly adores)
and Francis Bacon (whom he basically trashes as a two-faced hypocrite). Pages 153 to 211 address Newton himself.
Given the many references and details, I can't claim to have digested eveything as yet. But here are my impressions.
Fanning discusses the swirl of four major streams of thought -- modern science (the kind of
social enterprise that Thomas Kuhn talks about), physical alchemy (lots of quicksilver really burning, and really trying to get more gold), ceremonial magic and spiritual alchemy. That's his way of describing it.
He describes John Dee (with support from Queen Elizabeth, who was certainly a pivotal figure) as the hidden main source of
Western culture in all these areas except for mnodern science itself.Read more ›
Here's the real stuff
Cannabis in Alchemical Literature: Green Lion, Philosopher's Stone
Three things suffice for the work: a white smoke, which is water; a green Lion, which is the ore of Hermes, and a fetid water... The stone, known from the chapters of books, is white smoke and water.
Of this self-same body, which is the matter of the Stone, three things are chiefly said; that it is a green Lion, a stinking Gum, and a white Fume... Having twelve pounds of Green Lion thus brought into gum, thou mayst believe...
St. Dunstan (pseudo)
A green Gum called our green Lyon, which Gum dry well, yet beware thou not burn his Flowers nor destroy his greenness.
Sir George Ripley
The Bosome-Book of Sir George Ripley
You will see marvelous signs of this Green Lion, such as could be bought by no treasures of the Roman Leo. Happy he who has found it and learned to use it as a treasure!
The Treasure of Treasures
Beware therefore of many, and hold thee to one thing. This one thing is naught else but the lyon greene...
Perfect bodies we naturally calcine with the first, without adding any impure body but one commonly called by philosophers the green lion, and this is the medium for perfectly combining the tinctures of the Sun and Moon.Read more ›