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Posted July 29, 2009
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Dr. Herbert Silberer begins his text by presenting a late 18th Century alchemistical parable, probably of Rosicrucian origin. He then provides two interpretations, one psychoanalytical (useful; insightful), the other anagogic (mechanical). The text then moves into a discussion of Philosophical Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt. Dr. Silberer predates--but mentions--Dr. Jung in his analyses of alchemy, but his appropriations for these qualities remain tentative at best. The middle section of the book, entitled "Introversion," is highly proprietary, opaque, jargon-laden, and dry. The most compelling thesis in the book is that one can start either with analysis or synthesis and it will lead to the same place. I devised a simple test using deduction and induction to confirm this, a very valuable insight. Overall an interesting book but only peripherally about alchemy. Indeed, late in the text Dr. Silberer made more mention of Freemasonry (perhaps what he meant by "Occult Arts" in the title) than alchemy proper. I would recommend it to those practicing self-analysis, spiritual alchemy, or even students of early psychoanalysis. See William James' short course in psychology and early Freud for theoretical foundations/context.
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Posted September 2, 2012