Thursday, July 28, 2011

Alchemist Nicolas Flamel and The Philospher's Stone

Nicolas Flamel, a French alchemist, was said to have found the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, gaining both immortality and wealth. Born in the year 1330 and (some say) died in 1418, others claim to have met him long after; and for all we know Flamel may be sitting in some Starbucks reading this description of himself today.

Flamel worked as a scribe, one day while shopping in a bookstall, an unusual volume caught his eye and he purchased it for two florins. The gilded manuscript had 21 pages made from bark, not paper or parchment as was customary. It had a copper cover. Every seventh page lacked writing but was inscribed with, repsectively:

*A serpent swallowing rods


*A serpent crucified on a cross


*A vast arid desert


Written on the first leaf in gilded letters was a warning from Abraham, Astrologer and Philosopher. This was followed  by curses against all who unauthorized, attempted to use this book. Many believe this manuscript to be an early reference to the system of Abramelin magic found in the grimoire Abramelin and so influenced the work of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley.

Flamel believed the book to have been confiscated magical text that ended up on the book stall. The book seller was able to offer no explanation. According to the text, a full study of the Kabalah was required for comprehension. 

He recognized the work as an encoded alchemical text but was unable to decipher it. Flamel fell under the book's spell and was obsessed with it, spending 21 years trying to crack it's code to no avail. 


Finally his wife Perenelle suggested he go to Toledo. To consult with experts on the Kabalah. When he returned he was able to transmute mercury into silver and gold. 


There are at least two versions of his life:


* Flamel did not create the Elixir of Life but lived to be 116 years old, dying in 1417 and distributing his considerable wealth to various churches and hospitals. His will provided for the construction of 14 hospitals, 7 churches, and 3 chapels. His wealth was extreme and longevity led to rumors of his alchemical career.


* Flamel discovered the Philospher's Stone and, together with his wife Perenelle, still walks the Earth. 


Brightest of Blessings,
Lory




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