Saturday, June 21, 2008

Book Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy

I always get a chuckle when I see certain "Complete Idiot" books. A complete idiot is expected to be able to learn calculus and quantum physics. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy by Dennis William Hauck is different. In the introduction, the author says that he wants you to be a "complete idiot" so that you will come to the book without preconceptions. This is important because alchemy is probably not what you think it is. (If alchemy is what you think it is, you don't need this book, or any other book that I've reviewed so far.)

So what is alchemy? Simply put, it's the art and/or science of transformation. While most people think of it as trying to turn lead into gold, it can also be applied toward turning yourself into gold, metaphorically of course. It's really about taking undesirable things and changing them into something better.

You would expect any "complete idiot" or "dummies" book to provide an accessible introduction to the subject, and this book delivers. All of the basics are covered, including the Emerald Tablet and the First Matter. Instructions on making herbal extracts and on personal transformation are also included.

If you've chosen the hermetic path or are interested in alchemy, this book is a good starting point.

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