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“The acceptance of the essential unity of the universe and the cousinhood of all things in nature opened up an experience of the world that was very different from technical prescriptions. Alchemical work became an immersion in a sacramental activity, and it was termed the Great Work in which prayer and contemplation played an essential part.” - from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century, Clare Goodrick-Clarke “The vast field of spagyrics presents itself rather like a mosaic that is only slowly completed by the collaboration of the reader.” - from Spagyrics, Manfred Junius
. and Rubedo. art of spagyrics. than the animal. There is a modest admonition in the introduction to be prepared for rethinking our relationship with weeds. academic theory.” As the two Greek verbs suggest. . esoteric philosophy and practical experience.from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century. et habebis magisterium—“dissolve and bind. and you will have the magistery. This is medicine for living. in accordance with the alchemical maxim solve et coagula. While many are familiar with herbalism. yet profound. and finally the spirit. whose preparation. the Paracelsean alchemical approach to discovering the quintessence of the vegetable kingdom. Each of these realms is alive in some sense. using the familiar processes of Nigredo. Offering no illusory cure all. Realizing that what we think of as weeds may be helpful as herbal remedies is a small step. Clare Goodrick-Clarke Goodrick-Clarke clearly demonstrates the expansion of contemporary medical practices possible through the application of Alchemical insights. their differences expressed in how fully they are able to participate in the universal experience.” Spagyrics formed the core of Paracelsus’ practical medicinal work. In Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century. she shows that it is in our relationship with the whole that we become healthy. these are not the sole means of participating in the beneficial medicinal aspects of plant life. to sublimate and divine the essence of each station. the Royal Art. as alternatives to pharmaceuticals or invasive medical treatments. and the use of natural remedies. The physical sciences of the past identified four stages in the living expression of matter. This belies the much deeper change that occurs as GoodrickClarke guides us through the history and theory of alchemy and its application to the medical field. application and influence works to ground us in the very life of the world around us. and draws benefits from his synthesis of folk herbalism. the process of separating and combining imply a synthesis in which the finished whole is greater than the sum of its parts. and a living medicine. “We stand at the threshold of a new era of medicine and at a point where it may be useful to engage with what has been known in the past about the importance of phytomedicines in all their various forms. first came the mineral realm. then the vegetative. Clare Goodrick-Clarke brings us a vital exploration of the humble. Alchemy. acts within all of these realms.” . As she explains in the introduction “The word spagyric (German spagyrik) comes from two Greek verbs: spao (to separate) and agyro (to unite). and can be applied. Albedo.Study which centers on the very essence of truth finds it’s most valuable expression in a fully engaged life of practice. compared to the initiatory leap necessary to fully grasp the correspondences associated with the Hermetic cosmology at the core of the alchemical work.
All that has now changed. and the groundwork for the present application of these alchemical preparations. heart disease. tuberculosis. Plants. and exploring the influence of his insights. diabetes) as the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. stars and comets. theory and precedence. dealing with practical spagyric instruction. and cancer have taken the place of these fatal diseases. often unseen. Stellar influences are explored in terms of their historical understanding. as well as a historical framework where we can begin to absorb the Hermetic world view. and practical importance to the Art. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion describes chronic disease (heart problems. each to a greater or lesser extent interlocked in the movement of the whole. having refined them through organic spagyric processes. and the mineral deposits of the soil. Clare Goodrick-Clarke Quoting the alchemist Arnau Vilanova she notes that “The plagues beginning in 1348 further stimulated the search for “the mother and Empress of medicines. Knowing this. there were three main causes of death: pneumonia or severe influenza. show intriguing evidence for planetary affects beyond what is accepted by most scientists.” . stroke. Since 1940.from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century. through the history of Western culture. and the deep stream of wisdom that flows. this introduction proves very helpful for integrating with the full depth of the art. represent alchemically active receptacles for the very essences of those influences. awakening us to new relationships with the world. whose experiments with with mineral tinctures and their reaction to certain celestial alignments. For Paracelsus the world was a series of corresponding alchemical movements. and enteritis. We are also introduced to contemporaries such as Lily Koskinko. whose life force is fed by the intermingling celestial influences of the sun. “In 1900. Chronic ill-health and debilitating conditions are a huge cost to the happiness of human life. Such historical precedence shows the need for more experimentation. the spagyric alchemist further refines these celestial essences through the familiar processes of alchemy. Exploring history Goodrick-Clarke is able to address issues of practice. cancer. we are able to better understand the tensions existing between alchemical Hermetic practice and the mainline of Western thought.Paracelsus provides both a foundational figure for spagyric practice. Goodrick-Clarke leads us on a historical overview of Paracelsean practice through brief introductions to the major figures that have applied his theories down to the present day. accounting for 70 percent of all deaths. [which] others . moon. Following his turbulent career. In the second part of the book.
The medical paradigm is “to go against. and to all those willing to reassess their beliefs. which burden the body with synthesized chemicals and suppress natural responses. or beaten. with many thousands of people affected by iatrogenic illness every year. which allows these deeply immersive traditional ideas aterms that are accessible to the contemporary scientific and medical communities. The key to her work lies in her erudite scholarship.have named .” . indeed. where they encounter the living. how cultural conditioning leads us to certain assumptions. Such an approach seldom leads to cure. is the mysterious. as Goodrick-Clarke points out. students find an important difference between the living and the dead.” . excised. others. in all its grim gradations of decay. In the historical figure of Samuel Hahnemann. “Our conditioning leads us to see disease as something to be fought.from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century. the fight for health is a war in which the enemy (disease) must be eradicated. she explores the concept of the vital force. As a student of Manfred Junius.” for which we use the term allopathy. Once dissection and anatomy has familiarized them with the structure of the body as it is in death. the inestimable glory. . surgical excision. Clare Goodrick-Clarke In attempting to open our vision for seeing new relationships It is important to recognize. a difference so obvious and striking as to pass without comment. it is now widely recognized and reported that pharmacological use is itself a source of disease. Here. . even in the sick. magical. and how this concept alters the way in which we view treatment. and mystical quality of aliveness that marks the living from the dead. environmental degradation and the increasingly chronic nature of our illnesses have brought a similar return to the everlasting quest. Despite the billions of dollars spent on drug development. who developed homeopathic dissolution. and a growing number of people today do not wish to take pharmaceutical drugs. the philosophers’ stone. Here.” In our own time the problems attendant with globalization. Clare Goodrick-Clarke Goodrick-Clarke’s work is deeply embedded in the historical transmission of alchemical knowledge. they are brought into the wards. and the elixir of life. industrialization. “Medical students typically spend their first weeks of instruction on the corpse. .from Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century. and genetic modification. she received hands on training in the practical aspects of the alchemical tradition from a well respected exponent of its contemporary expression. have named it the quintessence. Most modern medical interventions fall into these categories. The means to this end often involve the pharmacological blocking of natural responses.
spagyrics is a relationship as much as a practice. Using Hanehmann as a focus allows the scientific dismissal of his homeopathic work to provide an opening for an accurate historical review that demonstrates the true nature of the disagreement. With Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century. The second half of the work is dedicated to sharing the hands on tradition of spagyrics she learned from Manfred Junius. This book is for those who would like to go further and explore the wonderful range of healing that is ours for the taking as soon as we step out into the natural. Placing Hanehmann in his proper setting. observing living beings. illustrating how current understanding lacks much of the holistic depth necessary for true healing to occur. have been instrumental in the contemporary critical reevaluation of esotericism as an intellectual topic worth investigating. wild world. Yet within the medical profession. Both she and her husband. Access to such vital and long lived traditions in such an open manner is a gift of our current culture. As Goodrick-Clark points out. These step by step instructions continue to develop the application of the history and theory covered in the beginning of the work. there is a determined and vocal group whose position is that “there is no evidence whatsoever for a life force. practically applicable and deeply engaging work to initiate a new understanding of our relationship with the vegetable world. she shows the value in establishing the historical stream of knowledge before dismissing an idea. Her historical knowledge aids her enthusiasm in expressing the full importance of these traditions. “conventional medical science knows a great deal about the numerous ways in which the body deteriorates in disease.” Go further. or drinking mint tea alleviates mild indigestion. “Finding a few sage leaves. It is a credit to her work that the same critical eye for scholarship has gone into evaluating the practical application of these ideas. would take as selfevident the proposition that the life force exists. Clare Goodrick-Clarke has provided a historically erudite. steeping them in hot water. as well as her own insights proven through practice. cultural streams. Many people. Through technical specialization and application the art of medicine has deteriorated to the level of mechanics. .” Scholarship and insight combine in presenting an overview of Alchemy through out the ages that aligns it with the current. As she amply expresses. and more generally know. a relationship with the world around us in it’s living whole. because as Manfred Junius mused. but it does not have a fully developed theory of the vital force and the dynamis that keeps a person well. Through preparing spagyric remedies themselves we are able to meditate on and integrate the insights provided by the active theory. Goodrick-Clarke is able to reevaluate his theories and their application to contemporary medicine. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. and drinking the resulting tea soothes a sore throat.Treating the controversial theories of Hahnemann.
and the History of Alchemy for the MA Programme in Western Esotericism ( the first degree of its kind in the world!) You can see details at the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism. For more information you can visit her website: Wellspring Homeopathy and visit the publisher. complementary health practitioner and meditation teacher. . Goodrick-Clarke has been a faculty member of the New York Open Center. Inner Traditions’. Since 1995. page for the book. lecturer.*** About Clare Goodrick-Clarke: Clare Goodrick-Clarke is a writer. which includes a brief preview: Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century Note: Special thanks to Inner Traditions for providing a copy of Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century for research and review. You can see forthcoming conference details as well as past conferences on the New York Open Center page. She is currently an Honorary Fellow of Exeter University where teaching modules on the Esoteric Body. speaking regularly at the New York Open Center International “Esoteric Quest” conferences.
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