Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review of the Elixer of Immortality by Robert E. Cox

Inner traditions press is always somewhat sensational, but many of their publications are more interesting than watching T.V.. I do believe that most of their authors attempt to prove their points in an intelligent fashion. Though questionable, I enjoy reading many of their books, which led me to Mr. Cox's contribution.
     Filled with interesting anecdotes and tales of many traditions including the Egyptian, Vedic and Taoist approaches, he seems to open up the subject to many variant subcultures' interest. Though the wet work is somewhat arcane to the uninitiated, the author discusses it as would a teacher in a technical school. Though there is a certain enjoyment in reading the self assured writings of the early modern writers on the subject of Alchemy, it is refreshing to read an informal and technical writer.
      What remains to be seen is the use of his missing ingredient. I believe it well worth trying. His suggestions for the workshop are sensible, and if you are going to try the wet way, the use of the hood is well advised. Thomas Vaughan might have lived a longer and richer life, and we would have benefited more so from his skill as an author had he the benefit of a hood over the heated mercury to suck out the vapours.
      Here's an example of Cox's writing ; "it is a scientific fact that both mercury and lead can be transmuted into pure gold. But according to modern science, this can be accomplished only through a high-energy process of nuclear fission, involving the release of alpha particles (nucleons). Because both mercury and lead have a higher atomic number than gold, if one were to start with a certain quantity of lead or mercury and transmute the entire mass into gold (through a process of nuclear fission), then the gold obtained would necessarily weigh slightly less than the original mercury or lead due to the emission of alpha particles--exactly as claimed by Flamel."
     Cox has the knowledge of chemistry that might make many of the concepts take better hold for the modern reader. Yet to view this all as a chemical operation may be somewhat of a mistake. Cox is impressed by Hudsons discovery of monatomic and diatomic gold, the single atom being the white, the other a red powder. These he describes as the white and red sulfur used to transmute gold and silver into the philosophers red and white stone, which are used for healing, and longevity.
     The red stone being most prized is heavier than the gold it came from according to the European alchemists. Cox writes; "The red elixer must be composed of superheavy elements, unlike anything that naturally exists on Earth." Later on after passing through history and much interesting stories we come to his chapter 'the missing ingredients'. He writes; "Should I make the elixer for myself and my friends, while keeping the knowledge secret, or should I reveal the knowledge to the general public for the potential betterment (or destruction) of all mankind? The certain and safe road is the first choice. The uncertain and dangerous road is the second choice. Against the advice of my friends, I have made the second choice. Why?
     The answer to this question lies beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say that I believe I am acting in accordance with the will of God. As Philalethes put it: All Sons of Art... write and teach according to that permission which the Creator of all things hath given them.
     Next he goes on to give his great discovery.  As Valentinus' Chariot of antimony leaves us to notice, the great process occurs with this element. Cox observed that Bismuth often is found with antimony. Cox then experiments and discovers that you can use just bismuth, and that you can buy pure bismuth from a chemical house, without having to process it, bypassing the star regulus phase.
     He goes on; 'To use an analogy, it can be described as the most "mature" of the stable chemical elements--one that embodies all the elements that come before it. If you were to progressively strip away electrons, protons, and neutrons from a bismuth atom , any of the preceding chemical elements could be obtained--at least in principle. In other words, it contains all the stable chemical elements within itself in potential form. He then goes on to say; 'The preparation of philosophic gold requires antimony. No bismuth is required. The preparation of philosophic mercury, on the other hand requires bismuth."
     It is interesting to notice what occurs to bismuth when you run an electrical current through it, a type of heat not normally thought of. It is an art project to play with the metal thusly, and could aid one in the royal art.
     As in the case with alchemist of the past, he gives a process, not completely clear. Reading Philalethes (the lathe of alchemy), and the Atwoods book may help somewhat if you don't find things clear enough here. There is effort in the wet work, there are equipment requirements and more. I think you will find 'The Elixir of immortality a modern-day alchemists discovery of the philosophers stone', an entertaining read.

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