The earliest authentic works extant
on European alchemy are those of the English monk Roger Bacon and the German
philosopher Saint Albertus Magnus: both believed in the possibility of
transmuting inferior metals into gold. Albertus Magnus, also, though his
science might have been crude and defective, based it upon the instinctive
recognition of the psychic links between man and nature, that he was not
an alien in the universe but an integral and natural part of it, something
which has been lost in modern science.
Lovecraft mentions the "Albert Magnus"
in an edition of his writings translated and published in 1651 by Peter
Jamm being in the library of Joseph Curwen. We don't know if this
edition is really a true translation of the works of Albertus Magnus or
one of the many grimoires created by self-claimed mystics and alchemists.
While the man did write many treatises, there were a huge number of fakes.
Some of these fakes attributed to Albertus Magnus include: the "Book of
Secretes" published in London, circa 1560 and "Egyptian Secrets" printed
anonymously in the United States with no publisher's mark or publication
date. He was said to be an adept in magical arts, expecially alchemy,
weather manipulation, and creating androids capable of speech. He
was a prolific writer though it is uncertain if any of his works have actually
survived. Like many 'magicians' of the period, his supposed works
were translated and revised out of recognition.
Actually he was no "magician" at
all. From the viewpoint of the Catholic Church he was Saint Albertus Magnus
(1206-1280), also called Albert the Great, a German scholastic theologian
and scholar. He was born Albrecht von Bollstadt or de Groot in Lauingen.
He entered the Dominican order in 1223, taught in Cologne and Paris, served
as bishop of Ratisbon (now Regensburg) from 1260 to 1262. Afterwards
he was an ecclesiatical administrator, preacher, and educator (most noted
for being the teacher of Thomas Aquainus). Albertus Magnus brought
Greek and Arabian science and philosophy to Europe and is known for his
attempts to reconcile Christian theology with the teachings of Aristotle
(see note on Ramonf Lully). He engaged in biological research and
reported at length his findings and speculation in various fields of science.
His chief works are the "Summa Creaturis" ("Treatise about Mankind"), which
deals mainly with man and his immortal soul, and "Summa Theologiae" ("Treatise
on Theology"), an unfinished account of God as the cause and goal of all
creatures. While some called men of science 'magicians' and 'alchemists,'
Albertus Magnus was respected for his work despite forays into alchemy
(thought to be integral to chemistry). In fact he was respected widely
and Pope Pius XI declared him a Saint and a doctor of the Church in 1932;
his feast day is November 15.
He did write, according to Colin
Wilson in The Occult, that: "The Alchemist shall live in loneliness, remote
from men. He must be silent and discreet...' He must also choose
'the right hour for his operations' -- that is, when the heavenly bodies
are propitious." And Albertus also explained at length how various
precious stones can be used for medical and moral purposes: the amethyst
increases concentration; the emerald induces chasitity; the agate strengthens
the teeth and drives away phantoms and snakes. Among herbs, betony
produces the power of prophecy, and verbena is a love charm. Feverwort
could cure fever; liverwort, diseases of the liver. Another widespread
belief he helped was that if a man received injury from any physical object
-- a knife, hatchet, stone, etc. -- the object should also be treated for
the injury it had caused: a hatchet with which a butcher cut himself was
covered with the same salve as his wound and hung behind the door; when
the butcher experienced pains one day, it was found the hatchet had fallen
on the floor. All this sounds absurd but, at the time, to dismiss
it would be a mistake. For the oddest thing is that such remedies
often worked. They still do. It was this kind of thing which
created the Christian Scientist sect. And is giving rise to a science
of self healing today.
Verum or the Most Approved Keys of Solomon the Hebrew Rabbin where
in Most Hidden Secrets both Natural and Supernatural, are immediately exhibited,
but it is necessary that the Demons should be contented on their part.
Translated from the Hebrew by Palingiere,
a Dominican Jesuit, with a Collection of Curious Secrets. Published by
Alibeck the Egyptian, 1517. On the reverse of the title pase it reads "The
True Clavicles of Solomon. Memphis. Published by Alibeck the Egyptian."
But it probably dates from the eighteenth century and "Memphis" is Rome.
The first part is similar to the Lemegeton while the second shares much
with the pretended Albertus Magnus and the "Little Albert."
Albert or the Secrets mervelleux de la magie naturelle et cabalistique
du Petit Albert
Numerous editions: 1704
(also eds: 1718, 1744, 1754)
Les Admirables secrets d'Albert le Grand contenant plusieurs
traités sur la conception des femmes, des vertus des herbes, des
pierres précieuses et des animaux ; augmentés d'un abrégé
curieux de la physionomie et d'un préservatif contre la peste, les
fièvres malignes, les poisons et l'infection de l'air : tirés
et traduits sur des anciens manuscrits de l'auteur, qui n'avoient pas encore
parus ; ce qu'on verra plus amplement dans la table et ce qui aura été
ajouté dans cette dernière édition. Divisés
en quatre livres. - A Lyon : Chez les héritiers de Beringos Fratres,
à l'enseigne d'Agrippa, MDCCLXXXVIII (1788). - 291 p.-(5) f. de
pl. ; 14 cm. (R. Enf 29/N.I).
"C'est parmi les livres populaires, le plus célèbre et
peut-être le plus absurde... Il est tout naturel que le livre des
secrets ait été attribué à Albert le Grand,
car ce docteur, très savant pour son époque, eut, parmi ces
contemporains, la réputation d'être sorcier. Le Livre des
Secrets du Petit Albert est moins complet, mais le fonds reste le même"
Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle et cabalistique du
Petit Albert , traduits exactement sur l'original latin intitulé
: Alberti parvi lucii Libellus de mirabilibus Naturae arcanis. Enrichi
figures mystérieuses, et la manière de les faire. Nouvelle
édition, corrigée et augmentée. - A Lyon : Chez les
héritiers de Beringos Fratres, à l'enseigne d'Aggripa, MDCCXCI
(1791). - 245
p.-(10) f. de pl. ; 14 cm. (R. Enf 30/N.I.).
being the approved, verified, sympathetic and natural
WHITE AND BLACK ART FOR MAN AND BEAST
The book of nature and the hidden secrets
and mysteries of life unveiled; being the
Forbidden Knowledge of Ancient Philosophers
By that celebrated Student, Philosopher, Chemist,
Naturalist, Psychomist, Astrologer, Alchemist,
Metallurgist, Sorcerer, Explanator of the
Mysteries of Wizards and Witchcraft;
together with recondite Views of
numerous numerous Arts and
Practical, Etc., Etc.,
TRANSLATED FROM THE
GERMAN TO THE
I HEREWITH commit to the perusal of the reader
a collection of approved remedies-sympathetic as well as natural-rememdies,
sufficient in number as may be deemed needful for household pruposes. Knowing,
from experience, how many an honest citizen hath been robed fo his entire
estate through the machinations of bad and malicious people, having his
live stock destroyed and the usefulness of his cows tampered with; and
still further, how many a man hath been tortured and tantalized at night,
from early childhood, by wicked people of that ilk; so much so that they
could hardly bear ti any longer, had it not been for the timely aid rendered
them by exorcising these rabbles, if this be even done by calling upon
the Bedgoblin or "Puck." Moreover, may such troubled people were made unhappy
in their wedlock, and robbed of all their children. Besides all this, I
know of a place, of which the minister of the Gospel who officiates there
assures me, that the influence of but one wicked female residing there
has caused the ruin of the entire village, since there is hardly man or
beast existing in the place which had not been tampered with and attacked
by that wicked person. But, through the grace of God, every one of these
people have been rescued by the means of the Bedgoblin, as set forth in
the second article of this little book.
Whenever said remedy is to be applied, in case
the house of him whom it is intended to assist is called aloud three times
with devotion, and by adding both his christian and all his other names,
the usefullness threof will be readily enough perceived, the matrimonial
peace will be re-established, the children will revcover, the cows will
again become useful, no matter how much reduced in body they have been;
but a few weeks will elapse, and the cows will show as much sound flesh
as they ever possessed heretofore. Thus it happens that this collection
contains a number of curious performances of magic, every one of which
is worth far more than the reader pays for this entire book. For purpose
of rendering a great service to mankind, this book was issued in order
to bridle and check the doings of the Devil.