The first of an anticipated five volume series, Rubaphilos Salfluĕre’s The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: First Principles was published to coincide with the Third International Alchemy Conference in Los Angeles, 23-25 October 2009. A slender and perhaps unassuming looking paperback of just 165 pages, this first book of The Hermes Paradigm cycle encapsulates more than two decades devoted to the study of the Western mysteries, specifically Hermetism and alchemy. In his preface, Seattle-based Allerion says:
The author has devoted a staggering amount of effort towards not only the process of studying and practicing alchemy (and Western Hermetism in general), but also of teaching it. While this requires a great deal of patience and expertise, it also yields valuable insights that would otherwise remain unknown to individual practitioners who remain solely in the role of student. Having a qualification and experience in psychotherapy, as well as formal education in botany, chemistry, microbiology, and physics, and the practical application of these latter sciences in the realm of oenology, the author is – with such a broad background of experience – able to speak to a wide range of issues that concern people of both modern and traditional (i.e. ancient) scientific backgrounds.
Allerion continues to emphatically endorse the author and his written works, stating that:
Rubaphilos Salfluĕre is an alchemist the likes of which we must look to past history if we are to find similar examples. Descending from an unbroken line of teaching which stems back to antiquity, he is in a unique position to present modern readers with an accurate view of alchemy – by this I mean, specifically, the Hermetic view of the Royal Art. While I have only contributed to this volume via the provision of a preface, I have had the pleasure of the author’s association for many years, and can attest to the hard reality of that which he presents herein.
That which Rubaphilos presents in The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: First Principles include chapters on: Terminology and Definition; Hermetism; Three Core Concepts; Initiation and the Great Work; Hermetic Initiation – Deeper Still; Alchemy; Magic; the Origins and Development of Hermetic Thought; the Rosicrucian Brotherhood; Freemasonry; the Modern Popular Tradition; the Emerald Tablet and Its History; the Spagyric Formula; and the Tablet Proper. A glossary and a bibliography complement the text proper, as does an appendix consisting of a Latin version of the Emerald Tablet.
Additionally, the book bears numerous illustrations, diagrams, and colour photographs relating to: the Pillars of Hermes; the triune nature of living systems; the core concepts; a brief history of Hermetic tradition; the philosophic Emerald; the history of the Emerald Tablet; the primary binary; the Father and Mother of the Stone; the Elements and the Principals; the trinity in unity; an abstract of the mechanism behind pelicanisation; Circulatory glassware; and the rebis of the Philosophers.
Since its publication, The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: First Principles has been received and reviewed variously. One reader, Rubeaurea, of Lisbon, Portugal, says of the book:
It is indeed a rare occasion when an Adept decides to come forth and speak. For those lost in the words and writings of so many fools and pretenders, such an event feels like a breath of fresh air. The book The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: First Principles is the first one of a series of writings by one of the few Hermetic Masters alive today. It provides the seeker / student with the basic concepts of Hermeticism, and paves the way for the study and practice of alchemy disposed of all the ‘noise’ that is, more often than not, a sign of ignorance. Both inner and laboratory alchemy are addressed, and their link clearly established. The chapter on the Emerald Tablet is, in itself, a book within a book deserving a careful reading and realising, as one should, that simplicity and clarity are the manifestations of wisdom. On the fields of Hermeticism and alchemy, you cannot find a better guide.
Benjamin Miller of Washington elaborates:
Many who have taken up the study of Western esoterica have encountered discrepancies between various authors, schools, systems, and systems within systems. All too often, at best, the student is left with various pieces of esoteric information which don’t all seem to fit together correctly, and many questions are left unanswered. The Hermes Paradigm, and those volumes that will be its successors, provide the glue for those pieces. The Hermes Paradigm is the first in a series of volumes which move past new-age fluff – beyond the realm of speculation – and explain, in clear language, the very heart of alchemy and the Hermetic tradition, and expose the potentials of their integration and application. Any individual with a serious interest in alchemy and Western esotericism would be doing themselves a favour in reading this book.
Gregory Kaminsky generously extended an invitation for Rubaphilos to speak on the Occult of Personality online radio show. The interview was recorded and broadcast as podcast episode 88. In Gregory’s words, from the Occult of Personality website:
In this interview, Rubaphilos talks about his personal experience in the Western mystery tradition in New Zealand, including his interest and training in laboratory alchemy, hypnosis, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, B.O.T.A., A.M.O.R.C., and Freemasonry. We then compare and contrast the alchemical laboratory tradition and spiritual alchemy, discussing the Philosophers’ Stone and the Elixir of Life. Rubaphilos endeavors to dispel the confusion surrounding the subject of alchemy, both laboratory and inner work. He also explains how esoteric spiritual alchemy is synonymous with qabalah. I highly recommend Rubaphilos Salfluěre’s The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: First Principles. With this book, he takes a hard and modern look at Hermetism and alchemy and forces readers to think by questioning assumptions and the popular tradition. If you are a student of Hermetics and alchemy, Rubaphilos’ book is essential reading. Perhaps controversial to some, his insights and experience are invaluable in my opinion.
A more in-depth discussion between Gregory and Rubaphilos – regarding the division between the popular level of the Western esoteric tradition and the hidden tradition, or underground stream – follows in the ‘membership section’ of the podcast. Listen to the interviews and support the commendable work of Occult of Personality as you can.
The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: First Principles remains available directly from Salamander and Sons, and from our friends Marilyn Rinn and Keith Richmond at Weiser Antiquarian Books in Cape Neddick, Maine.
Satisfied readers of the first of The Hermes Paradigm books may be pleased to know that The Hermes Paradigm, Book Two: The First Work is in preparation and will be available soon.