Alchemy Journal Vol.6 No.1.
The Gnostic Science of Alchemy
According to Zosimus of Panopolis, a fourth century alchemical apologist,the "sons of God" mentioned briefly in Genesis taught the alchemical artsto their human lovers in gratitude for having sex with them. Tertullian, anearly Church Father, agreed with this and thought that these "fallenangels," or nephilim, had the evil intention of seducing human woman withthe joys of "mundane pleasures." Zosimus was just repeating the acceptedwisdom of the Jewish and Christian sages of that era. As he warmed to hissubject though, Zosimus related the story of the first alchemist, Chemes,who wrote the teachings of the fallen angels in a book called Chema. Thenephilim used this book to instruct the daughters of men in the spagyricarts and therefore the art itself came to be called Chemia. This was indeed the Greek word foralchemy, to which the Arabs added the article, al, of their own language. As clever as this explanation is, like all statements in the study of alchemy, it should not be taken tooliterally. If we take it as a parable wrapped in a fable and disguised as an allegory, we would be closerto the truth. "Al Chemia," as a name for the substance of the mystery, is both revealing and concealing of the truenature of the work. "Al-khemi," another Arabic derivation from the Egyptian for "the black," also refersto the darkness of the unconsciousness, the most prima of all
, and to the "Black Land" ofEgypt. In this sense, we can see Zosimus' "Khemes" as simply the "Black One," or Osiris. (Perhapseven taken from Osiris' original title of Khenti-Amenti, "Lord of the Western Darkness.") His "Khema" isno mere book, but the civilization of Egypt itself, its monuments, history and literature. What Zosimus'fable seems to be telling us, then, is this:
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