The Essentials of Alchemy: Lectures and Workshops with Brian Cotnoir

This unique series of talks and workshops will provide a solid introduction to the theories and practices of alchemy, thus allowing the participants to begin alchemical experimentation on their own. The talks are related to the practical workshops of the following day and both illuminate each other. This series is for anyone with an interest in alchemy, whether an absolute beginner looking for a way into the labyrinth or an experienced practitioner, each will find something useful for their work.

For those planning to take the full series start keeping a dream journal focused on alchemy starting with Workshop #2 it may provide some of the material for discussion in Workshop #5 on dreams.

The talks and workshops may be taken individually or together. Talks are open to general admission, but space is limited for workshops and must be reserved in advance. Workshop tickets are available for presale at Catland.

As a special offer for those wanting to attend the entire series of talks and workshops, Catland is offering a presale discount rate of $199.00.

Brian Cotnoir is an independent researcher, author and artist. He has researched and written on the history, theory and practice of alchemy and was a contributor to Parachemy, the laboratory bulletin of Frater Albertus. Last year he gave two workshops on the Emerald Tablet in Alexandria, Egypt, and he has presented papers on Arabic Alchemy in Granada, Spain and on Byzantine Alchemy in Istanbul, Turkey. He is author of The Weiser’s Concise Guide to Alchemy an introduction to its theory and practice, and is currently at work on a small series of emblem books called Alchemical Meditations as well as his next full length book, Alchemy: The Poetry of Matter.


Upcoming Talks and Workshops in the Series:

1) The Emerald Tablet; The Quintessence and the Art of Distillation July 26-27th

Friday Evening Talk 7:30-9:30 p.m. $10.00
The Emerald Tablet, famous for its declaration of “as above, so below…” is a cornerstone text of alchemy. A new translation from the oldest known version of the Emerald Tablet will be used as the basis for the evening’s talk that will lay out the fundamentals of alchemy going back to Alexandrian alchemy. We will cover very basic alchemical shorthand, matter/energy theories, the cycle of elements, pneuma, outline the practical work of alchemy and indicate how the inner work links up with the outer work.
This will be related to the following day’s workshop “The Quintessence and the Art of Distillation,” followed by a Q&A/discussion.

Saturday Workshop 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. $80.00
The Quintessence and the Art of Distillation workshop will build upon and deepen our understanding of the theories of the previous night’s talk. The very basics of distillation will be gone over and demonstrated: safety, equipment, set-up, operation, types of distillation, and alternatives to professional lab-ware. Then basing our work on a 14th century text by Rupescissa we will extract by distillation a quintessence and then prepare a sample of Rupescissa’s “sun in the heavens.”

2) Alchemy: The Art of Seeing with Two Eyes. (Talk only) August 2nd

Friday 7:30-9:30 p.m. $10.00
Alchemy: The Art of Seeing with Two Eyes alchemy is often discussed as one of two things, an inner symbolic process of the souls journey or self-actualization; or a wholly material process concerned only with effecting material change. It is in fact both and tonight’s talk will focus on alchemical practice and insight, the unity of inner work and outer as suggested in early alchemical writings and practices. We will touch on the role of visions and dreams in alchemy and discuss methods and techniques of visualization and dream-work. And so help develop a framework that the Byzantine alchemist Stephanos of Alexandria called “The Way of the Philosopher,” that has implications for our creative work today.
Those who will be continuing on with the series are encouraged to keep a nightly dream journal for the last workshop on dreams and alchemy.

3) Alchemy as a Hieratic/Talismanic Art; The Magistry of Rosmarinus Officinalis August 16-17th

Friday 7:30-9:30 p.m. $10.00
Alchemy as a Hieratic/Talismanic Art looks at the Emerald Tablet and Proclus’s “On The Hieratic Art,” and their relation to talismans, alchemical tinctures, and elixirs. Looking at this intersection of hermeticism, theurgy, and alchemy we begin to see a possible initiatic use of alchemical preparations.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. 6-7 hours (depending on results of the work) $80.00
The Magistry of Rosmarinus Officinalis in today’s workshop we will make a magistry. A magistry is a very potent spagyric herbal tincture prepared from the essential oil of a plant, the plant’s salts and spirit of wine. Working with rosemary, a very friendly and generous solar herb, we will extract its essential oil via steam distillation and then prepare the Magistry. This magistry can then be used as one would use the whole herb medicinally. Various set-ups for oil extraction as well as the preparation and use of the Seven Basics will also be discussed. Each participant will receive a small bottle of the magistry at the end of the workshop.

4) Alchemy: Ascent of the Soul Through Descent; The Aurum Potabile August 23-24th

Friday Talk 7:30-9:30 p.m. $10.00
Alchemy: Ascent of the Soul Through Descent. In alchemical work there is a descent before the ascent begins and this descent manifests in many ways. Tonight’s talk will focus on the inner work of alchemy and its stages by surveying the techniques and methods used by alchemists throughout history in their search for enlightenment and spiritual transformation and how it is reflected in other traditions. As with the other talks this will be related to the Emerald Tablet and other hermetic and gnostic writings and will revisit the idea of alchemy as a talismanic art as well.

Saturday Workshop 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. $80.00
The Aurum Potabile or drinkable gold was considered to have potent medicinal properties and possible initiatic uses as well. In this workshop we will examine the symbolic function of gold, its alchemical anatomy and review several procedures for making the aurum potabile and we will actually make two kinds. Participants will receive small bottles of each aurum potabile.

5) Alchemy and Dream: The Lunar Realm of Alchemy. (Saturday Workshop only.) August 30th 7:00-10:00 P.M. $20.00

Dream has played an integral role throughout alchemy. By reading several recorded dreams from Alexandrian alchemists and others and by investigating our own dreams, this workshop will examine the use of dreams and visions in alchemical work. We will discuss methods and techniques of dream work and visualization.
As part of this workshop participants are encouraged to bring in a dream to discuss that seems to have alchemical “content.” Please keep in mind we only have 3 hours.

Catland Books is located at 987 Flushing Ave in Brooklyn NY.

Tel- 718-418-9393


Related Images:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments