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Richard Ashrowan

Joined: Wed Feb 15th, 2012
Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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I have been digging into the sources on John Dee's celestial alchemy - looking at the available translations of Propaedeumata Aphoristica, Monas Hieroglyphia, and at other second-hand accounts of his unfinished De Speculis Comburentibus and Experimenta in Speculo.

I know there is little documentary evidence of Dee's more practical alchemical practice, though it is certain he had a laboratory and practiced this form of alchemy through his life (ie. with chemicals and flasks), but I wondered if anyone might be aware of any direct evidence of Dee (or Kelley even) actually applying his theory and using mirrors or lenses to concentrate celestial forces within his material experiments? ie. blending his optical and cabalistic studies with his alchemical practice?

There is wealth of textual evidence in the above sources pointing toward this as a highly likely probability, (and the Monas can indeed be interpreted, at least in parts, as a work of practical celestial alchemy) but I am wondering if there is anything further of a more concrete nature? Or maybe I have already missed something in those sources?

Last edited on Sun May 13th, 2012 09:00 am by Richard Ashrowan

Paul Ferguson

Joined: Fri Feb 15th, 2008
Posts: 1531
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Can't think of anything at all off-hand.

There's a putative link between Dee's scrying experiments and alchemy in the 'Seven Ensigns' episode mentioned in Whitby's thesis (available as a .pdf from the link below):

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