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Between 2007 and 2012, Juan D. Bermejo, Manlio Padovano, José Antonio Puche Riart, and Francisco Clemente Parra followed in the footsteps of that most enigmatic and illuminated of Hermetic Adepts, Fulcanelli, navigating the complex branching maze of the Great Work via the Dry Path. Guided by the two books attributed to the Master Alchemist – Le Mystère des Cathédrales (The Mystery of the Cathedrals, first published 1926) and Les Demeures Philosophales (Dwellings of the Philosophers, first published 1929) – these four determined lovers of wisdom documented their arduous alchemical journey in The Dry Path of Alchemy: Practical Development of the Work.

Both erudite and magnificently practical, The Dry Path of Alchemy consist of ten jargon-free chapters plus two appendices, profusely illustrated with 180 full colour photographs and more than 50 additional illustrations.

Naturally, the Dry Path begins with the preparation of Saturnia and the canonical salts, along with the collection of dew and confection of the Styx.

Chapter One of The Dry Path of Alchemy details how to obtain the First Mercury from stibnite, and elaborates upon the advantages and disadvantages associated with its canonical preparation from stibnite ore and from commercial antimony trisulphide.

The authors explain how, according to the interpretation of those who follow the antimony path, stibnite – called Saturnia by some ancient alchemists, and also referred to as the black dragon, the grey wolf and the son of Saturn – “must be purified (or purged, according to some modern texts) before proceeding to the separation, to release it from the siliceous gangue and other impurities that might contain.” Practical insights pertaining to the purification of the stibnite are elaborated. The canonical technique in which molten stibnite ore is guided towards immersion in the Styx – the “waters of oblivion” – is described, including the composition of said waters.

The Styx – the “waters of oblivion”

The Styx – the “waters of oblivion” (photographs copyright © Juan D. Bermejo, Manlio Padovano, José Antonio Puche Riart, and Francisco Clemente Parra)

The preparation of the Styx – a task involving the preparation of two salts, and their dissolution in dew – is described in even greater detail in Chapter Two. The harvesting, storage and canonical use of dew is discussed at length, as is the canonical preparation of salts (via passage through the mirror of Mars) towards the confection of the Martial regulus of antimony.

Canonical salts, almost dry

Canonical salts, almost dry (photographs copyright © Juan D. Bermejo, Manlio Padovano, José Antonio Puche Riart, and Francisco Clemente Parra)

This Martial regulus of antimony can be prepared using the earlier purified stibnite which, the authors note, “some alchemists call Philosophic Lead.” In these initial chapters the authors emphasise how, according to Fulcanelli:

… the fundamental matter of the alchemical work … is iron; the stibnite is a material used to open the metal and leave it ready to be decomposed into its own sulphur and mercury, and after opening it, it also permits that this can give you part of its tincture to do the great work. Fulcanelli describes it as a grinder, and he goes on to say that it grinds the reincruded metal into an impalpable powder which has a huge specific surface that enables the attack by acids (aqua regia), salt of Ammon (ammonium chloride) or adsorption (surface adhesion) of the antimony quintessence by the same process called eagles that we will explain in later chapters … The stibnite, if not the fundamental matter of the Great Work, eases the extraction of the quintessence, this being much more difficult by other procedures, such as the attack with mercuric chloride and salt over iron sulphate used by some modern alchemists with mediocre results.

In the eight chapters that follow, the authors outline the processes for obtaining the Martial regulus of antimony, treating the caput mortuum and obtaining the golden salt and Adamic earth, and purifying the regulus; unleashing the Green and Red Lions, animating Mercury, flying the Eagles, and forming the Island of Delos; along with the cooking of the Philosophical Egg and the ultimate ‘Crowning’ of the Work.

The Dry Path of Alchemy: Practical Development of the Work is being published in Red Lion and Green Lion bindings.

The Red Lion is strictly limited to 33 copies numbered by hand; is fully bound in red leather with gilt title and device, and silk bookmark ribbon, and is slipcased. Each of the 33 Red Lions includes a free and exclusive hand numbered print of the ‘Allegory of the Dry Path’. The Red Lion is now sold out.

The Green Lion is strictly limited to 167 copies numbered by hand; is fully bound in green leather with gilt title and device, and silk bookmark ribbon. Some copies of the Green Lion remain available for pre-order.

Genuinely ground-breaking, The Dry Path of Alchemy is a book that no serious student of alchemy can afford to be without.

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