Book: The Hermetic Museum by Arthur Edward WaiteFirst published in Latin in 1678, "The HERMETIC MUSEUM" is an anthology of alchemical writings, some so ancient as to be anonymous. Writers included have become part of historical legend: Helvetius, Delphinus, Michael Maier. Readers will find here an alchemical initiation, a sign to the seeker that there is a mystery and that you must begin here to unravel it. This hardback edition includes all the original engravings, and can be read not only as an esoteric text of extraordinary richness, but as a compendium of the early history of chemistry.
THE HERMETIC MUSEUM would also seem to represent a distinctive school in Alchemy, not altogether committed to certain modes and terminology which derived most of their prestige from the past, and sufficiently enigmatical as it was, still inclined to be less obscure and misleading than was the habit of the older masters. For it belonged to a period which had inherited a bitter experience of the failures, impostures, and misery surrounding the Magnum Opus and its mystical quest, which was weary of unequipped experiment, weary of wandering "multipliers," and pretentious "bellows-blowers," while it was just being awakened to the conviction that if Alchemy were true at all, it was not to be learned from books, or, at least, from any books which had hitherto been written on the subject. Running through all the tracts which are comprised in the following volumes, the reader will recognize traces of a central claim in alchemical initiation—that the secrets, whatever they were, must be understood as the property of a college of adepts, pretending to have subsisted from time almost immemorial, and revealing themselves to the select and the few, while the literature, large as it is, appears chiefly as an instrument of intercommunication between those who knew. At the same time, it may also be regarded as a sign and omen to the likely seeker, an advertisement that there was a mystery, and that he must go further who would unravel it.
Downloadable books (free):George Robert Stowe Mead - The Corpus Hermeticum
Arthur Edward Waite - The Hermetic Museum