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Arthur Edward Waite - What Is Alchemy (162.0 Kb)

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In his earlier writings on alchemy Waite maintained that the spiritual interpretation of alchemy was first systematically presented by Mrs. Atwood in her Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery -a point of view that he was later to reject completely, to the extent of saying that the book 'is not, however, final or satisfactory as a critical study, indeed, in some respects it is a morass rather than a pathway' (The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, 1911, Vol.2, p. 414). For this he was taken to task, in the pages of the O... More >>>
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Category 1:  Alchemical Works
Category 2:  The Golden Dawn
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Author:      Arthur Edward Waite
Format:      eBook
In his earlier writings on alchemy Waite maintained that the spiritual interpretation of alchemy was first systematically presented by Mrs. Atwood in her Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery -a point of view that he was later to reject completely, to the extent of saying that the book 'is not, however, final or satisfactory as a critical study, indeed, in some respects it is a morass rather than a pathway' (The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, 1911, Vol.2, p. 414). For this he was taken to task, in the pages of the Occult Review, by Isabelle de Steiger but he justified himself by stating that 'What I said of the Suggestive Enquiry in 1888 and 1893 was in the light of my knowledge at those dates that which I have recorded since has been under a fuller and clearer light' (Occult Review, Vol. 15, No.1. January 1912, p. 50). Nonetheless, his early essays on alchemy retain their value for the obscure information they contain and for their critical comments on Madame Blavatsky's dubious manipulation of her source material on alchemy.

First printed in the monthly journal The Unknown World from August to December 1894 and in April, 1895. It was reprinted in The Alchemical Papers of Arthur Edward Waite, ed. J. Ray Shute, Monroe, N.C., 1939, a privately printed collection limited to seventy copies.

About Author:

Arthur Edward Waite (October 2, 1857 - May 19, 1942) was an occultist and co-creator of the the popular and widely used Rider-Waite Tarot deck and author of its companion volume, the Pictorial Key to the Tarot. This was notable for being one of the first decks to illustrate all 78 cards fully, as opposed to the 22 major arcana.

Waite was a prolific author with many of his works being well received in academic circles. He wrote occult texts on subjects including divination, Rosicrucianism, freemasonry, black and ceremonial magic, Kabbalism and alchemy; he also translated and reissued several important mystical and alchemical works. His works on the Holy Grail, influenced by his friendship with Arthur Machen, were particularly notable. A number of his volumes remain in print, The Book of Ceremonial Magic, The Holy Kabbalah, and New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry having seen reprints in recent years.