The Book on Antimony: Dancing with the Black Dragon (Paperback)
From the Preface:
Twentieth-century alchemist, Frater Albertus, planned on writing a work titled, The Book on Antimony, which, to my knowledge never manifested. The book was to spark interest in preparations of antimony for medicinal use based on spagyric and alchemical principles. In the transition of alchemy to modern chemistry, many valuable ideas, techniques, and products were pushed aside to make room for updated approaches. In England, discussion of alchemical topics was discouraged and later banned in meetings of the Royal Society in favor of the new model of chemical principles. Soon, alchemy disappeared as a bad dream of our ancestors and those who could understand its methods were spread far and few between. There have always been alchemists working in the shadows through time. Frater Albertus pulled alchemy out and into the light on a global scale, as a legitimate avenue of research into new medicines and materials. Part of his research involved preparations of antimony, based especially on the writings of the alchemist Basil Valentine in his Triumphal Chariot of Antimony which first appeared around 1604. Frater Albertus hoped to gather enough information together on how to prepare antimony in a variety of ways to produce powerful agents unknown to modern medicine, and also to accumulate as much analytical information on the products as possible so that medical evaluation could more easily be suggested. He taught much of this technology worldwide for many years. I studied and worked with Frater Albertus for about ten years and the book before you presents a documentary of the teachings on antimony I have been able to collect since 1973 based on his initial guidance. So this is my version of The Book on Antimony; I think Frater would have been pleased.
I was never sure how best to present all of this information but in the end decided it was best to start at the beginning and unfold the information as it was presented to me. The alchemists called antimony a Black Dragon; this is the story of my involvement with antimony, my dance with the Black Dragon.
Antimony is not subject you hear about very much these days and yet antimony has been with us for centuries as a medicine, a pigment, as a flame retardant, it is used in matches and fireworks even as a semiconductor in modern electronics. In times past antimony was a subject of wonder and miracles as well as scandal.
How to use this book
This is a book of practical laboratory alchemy, but also a historical documentation. Along with some narrative and commentary, the bulk of this volume consists of scans of pages right from my personal notebooks gathered over the last 50 years. Reference notations are generally provided in the upper right corner of note pages where applicable.
The first part chronicles how antimony was introduced to me from the alchemical perspective and the results of practical works stemming from that introduction. The last part is a compendium of works using antimony, with instruction, photographs and some analysis of materials and products.
You can of course read cover to cover and see how antimony was revealed to me or skip through to a subject or process of interest at any time as a reference. I think most of the scans are clearly legible and I wanted to get them scanned before many of the pages start to fade with age. Without circumlocution or holding back vital details, I present this information in hopes that future workers on antimony preparations will have a strong foothold to make rapid advances; it does no good just sitting on my bookshelves.
This is the first of several books on alchemical laboratory works distilled from my collected notes (which I call the Corpus Spagyricus) planned for later release.