By Mircea Eliade
The new version of The Forge and the Crucible includes an up to date appendix, during which Eliade lists works on chinese language alchemy released long ago few years. He additionally discusses the significance of alchemy in Newton's medical evolution.
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Extra info for The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structures of Alchemy
ARISTO TELES REX ET :Philojophut. Vnquam vidi aJi uod anima tum crefctre au rem fiar putri' aum inuanurn erit opus alchimicum. tJHtnt/ 2lus b tm lcJb fdJCJ�t fief) bit felt bc�tn�t. Rosarium philosophorum 'Here is the separation of the four elements When the soul separates gently from the hody' Go The Forge and the Crucible relations for two months prior to the smelting operations and throughout their entire duration (Cline, p. 1 25). The belief that the sexual act can, in some way, compromise the success of the work is general throughout black Africa.
For all this, fire does not lose its ambivalent character: it is either of divine origin or 'demoniac' (for, according to certain primitive beliefs, it is engendered magically in the genital organ of the sorceress); we shall return to the subject of this ambivalence before dealing with the marvels associated with the smith. As was to be expected, the most transparent sexual and gynaecological symbolism is to be found in the images con cerned with the Earth-Mother. This is not the place to recall the myths and legends concerning the birth of men on earth (see Eliade, Traiti d'Histoire des Religions, pp.
443). 1 This text is important. It bears witness to a whole complex of mining traditions, deriving on the one hand from the primitive conception of mineral embryology and, on the other, from Babylonian astrological speculations. These latter are subsequent, obviously, to the belief in the generation of metals in the bosom of the Earth-Mother, as is, too, the alchemical notion taken up by the Berghiichlein, of the forma tion of ores resulting from the union between sulphur and mercury. In the Berghiichlein a clear line of demarcation is drawn between the contribution made by primitive and popular tradition-the fertility of the Earth-Mother-and that made by learned tradition which has emanated from Babylonian doctrines-cosmological and astrological.
The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structures of Alchemy by Mircea Eliade