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Book Review


Alchemical Essays by Dr. Ross Mack – Review for Alchemy Journal

The Living Process of Alchemy

Iona Miller, 1-1-09

“The changing of bodies into light and light into bodies, is very comfortable to the course of nature, which seems delighted with transmutations.” ~ Opticks, Sir Isaac Newton

“Ultimately, the Stone should be considered a catalyst to instruct the body code to overcome its inherited weakness and rebuild a better, stronger vital metabolism that is not just self-repairing, but building to an optimal state of health. . .The Stone has the seed of all DNA in an archetypal form and gives the correct, original instructions to the potential new cells. This enables generations of mutation/adaptation of the organism to self-correct.” ~ Dr. Ross Mack

In ALCHEMICAL ESSAYS (Salamander & Sons, 2008), Dr. Ross Mack distills the quintessence of the alchemical art creating a Meta-Syn of philosophers for our time. It can be difficult in such an esoteric subject to transcend language barriers and satisfy both the novice and the accomplished practitioner. But he has done just that in this tastefully-illustrated, well-crafted volume, weaving a tapestry of depth and richness with subject matter elements and process-oriented guidelines. The qualitative Mercury, Sulphur and Salt presented herein make a luminous mixture.

Dr. Mack will cut 20 years off your learning process, raise your aspirations, sooth your troubled soul, and ground your practice in an expanded notion of our ancient art, which is a secret therapy, as well. One reading may lead you to ponder, while another brings a “Eureka” moment, and still another sparks an obsessive quest. Alchemical Essays inspires one to truly seize the noble fruit. He will expand your synergetic consciousness of the heart of the Art and the secret Heart of Nature.

Dr. Mack’s passionate work is a balm for both the experimental and spiritual practitioner. This nonlinear book can be reread in fractal reiterations in its entirety or section by section over a period of years for inspiration on higher octaves. Its symbolism stimulates us at an unconscious level. We all know that revelations have their own mysterious way of emerging once the aspirant and the time are ripe. If you have the drive, Dr. Mack’s directions will give you traction.

The aesthetic approach of art is as inseparable from alchemy as its experimental nature. Alchemy is the soulful language of transformation and transmutation, a way of life rooted in eternal cycles. It is a personal experience of the Laws of Nature that invites the materialization of Wisdom. Energy is matter in volatile form and the natural mechanism of creation. Matter and mankind pass through archetypal transitional states. Alchemy amplifies this process, changing our fundamental psychophysical makeup. Even our failures have value.

Alchemy itself is a prescription for the Nigredo depression, the modern malaise of dark futures and consumer conformity. It defines a perennial frontier where eccentricity elbows out enough room to thrive in unconventional ways of thinking, acting and being, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Alchemy leads us to experiment, break boundaries and transcend categories, including those of science, art and belief. Intuitively knowing more than we know we know, some navigational part of ourselves functions as Mercurial guide.

This magical art connects private consciousness with the unified global field of awareness. The world is animated and all things are interconnected. The spiritual technology of today’s alchemy offsets the alienating effects of modern technology and helps create a totally new environment in the same sense that great art does – a development in the pattern of human experience. Alchemical media widens our experiential field. It offers the perennial promise of rebirth at an enhanced level of functional adaptability.

If you are looking for “Trade Secrets,” you will find many here whose brilliant articulation only come through a lifetime of effort. Mack shares his qualitative perspective on the alchemical memes of our day, including Ormus, life extension, resonance, frequency, fields, dark matter and energy, the ether, energy, DNA, cyclic transformation and the true nature of the Stone. You will also find a deep respect for the living powers of alchemy and an indispensable love of Anima Mundi as the ultimate Soror Mystica.

Imagine, instead of buying a cure at the store that we actually collect all the raw materials required from the ground up, create and assemble our own equipment, make our own chemical ingredients according to the old ways, and draw our own experimental conclusions. The authentic practice of alchemical art requires all that of us, and more. It requires we consciously open ourselves to the Universe and its expansive manifestation mirrored within ourselves. It makes psyche matter.

Mack describes the Minor and Major work in all the alchemical traditions, including Hermetic, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and Islamic. He gives a thorough treatment of Spagyrics and Ayurvedic craft. But this is no dry history, nor list of symbols, nor retelling of parables or outworn myths. His philosophical flights range from the subtleties of New Physics, (such as light, time, superconductors, and Bose-Einstein Condensate), to the practicalities of creating and perfecting one’s lab apparatus. He distinguishes internal, spiritual and plant alchemy, describing various methodology and applications.

It’s not easy to write such hyperdimensional text, even though this form of deep coding was the forte of the alchemists of history. Precisely what separates the modern alchemist from science is a deep and abiding desire for Nature’s enigmatic truths, including emotional, philosophical and spiritual meaning. Unique aspects are part of our personal journey toward individuation, but the operations of alchemy describe the transpersonal milestones we share in the progress of our Great Work. Ultimately, we make the grand experiment on ourselves.

Both artists and alchemists claim a variety of ways of proceeding with their work. The product of each endeavor is an expression of one’s intentional creative effort. Ultimately, there is no recipe for the creative process, which requires the cooperation of the universe to achieve that flow state, but there are means available to foster certain outcomes. Your next correct choice emerges from strengthening your experiential connection to creative source.

Dr. Mack has chosen a stunning menu of alchemical fare that invites the reader not simply to read the recipe but to heartily relish the dish – your own deliciously “cooked” self. These essays cover a select array of notions that enfold the essential aspects of alchemical theory and practice.

Happily, this is a fluid articulation, without the obfuscation of dated language in a presentation that is perhaps one of the best contemporary works of its type. In short, Dr. Mack’s fluent style makes enjoyable reading that speaks to us on the level we are ready to receive, helping us see the invisible world. As base metals are turned into gold, our soul is regenerated. Anyone can attempt to recount the history of alchemy, but it takes a mature practitioner to shed new light on the the subject.

Iona Miller, a writer, hypnotherapist and artist, is co-author of THE MODERN ALCHEMIST (Phanes, 1994), and moderates “Alchemy: the Royal Art” at . A selection of her alchemical essays can be found at

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