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The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art

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This important survey of alchemical symbols and doctrines sets forth the mysterious worldview and teachings of the practitioners of the "royal art." One of the leading exponents of the Hermetic tradition, Julius Evola demonstrates the singularity of subject matter that lies behind the words of all adepts in all ages, showing how alchemy--often misunderstood as primitive ch This important survey of alchemical symbols and doctrines sets forth the mysterious worldview and teachings of the practitioners of the "royal art." One of the leading exponents of the Hermetic tradition, Julius Evola demonstrates the singularity of subject matter that lies behind the words of all adepts in all ages, showing how alchemy--often misunderstood as primitive chemistry or a mere template for the Jungian process of "individuation"--is nothing less than a universal secret science of human and natural transformation. First published in 1931 in Italian. This is the first English translation. Draws from a host of sources in the Western esoteric tradition--works on theurgy, magic, and gnosticism from neoplatonic, Arab, and medieval sources.


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This important survey of alchemical symbols and doctrines sets forth the mysterious worldview and teachings of the practitioners of the "royal art." One of the leading exponents of the Hermetic tradition, Julius Evola demonstrates the singularity of subject matter that lies behind the words of all adepts in all ages, showing how alchemy--often misunderstood as primitive ch This important survey of alchemical symbols and doctrines sets forth the mysterious worldview and teachings of the practitioners of the "royal art." One of the leading exponents of the Hermetic tradition, Julius Evola demonstrates the singularity of subject matter that lies behind the words of all adepts in all ages, showing how alchemy--often misunderstood as primitive chemistry or a mere template for the Jungian process of "individuation"--is nothing less than a universal secret science of human and natural transformation. First published in 1931 in Italian. This is the first English translation. Draws from a host of sources in the Western esoteric tradition--works on theurgy, magic, and gnosticism from neoplatonic, Arab, and medieval sources.

30 review for The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art

  1. 5 out of 5

    TR

    A fascinating and comprehensive primer on Hermetecism, perhaps the Western/Aryan 'Zen' (or better perhaps, Zen is a less dynamic, Oriental 'Hermeticism'). Evola, as always, writes with precision and erudition. Recommended for all interested in the esoteric, and especially those who think the east has a monopoly on detached spirituality and enlightenment. This should probably be read multiple times.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mario

    A complex and fascinating masterpiece from a master of the western tradition. If you're hoping to find a detailed manual for self initiation you will be disappointed, a crystal clear exposition and a philological approach to an immense body of sources sheds no light on the processes of western hermetic tradition, yet it's by far one of the best books about it. To be read at least twice.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Short of it: the first half was quite good, but the second half was either incoherent or just plain wrong. Julius Evola correctly notes that the ancient teaching of alchemy wasn't simply about transmuting metals. It was about developing the soul (or ascending to higher realms). Using alchemical language, he offers a manual for purifying the soul. In the first half of the book he decodes numerous symbols. These discussions are often exhilarating and always exciting. They reveal a robust metaphysic Short of it: the first half was quite good, but the second half was either incoherent or just plain wrong. Julius Evola correctly notes that the ancient teaching of alchemy wasn't simply about transmuting metals. It was about developing the soul (or ascending to higher realms). Using alchemical language, he offers a manual for purifying the soul. In the first half of the book he decodes numerous symbols. These discussions are often exhilarating and always exciting. They reveal a robust metaphysics which has strong affinities with Christianity and Torah/Prophets. For example, "chaos" simply means the realm of undifferentiated potentiality--prime matter. Saturn is heaviness, inertia. "The Tomb," infamous in Plato, notes the body By itself and apart from the animating spirit, it is dead matter, the flux of chaos. The hermeticist does not want to escape the body because it is bad, but to temporarily separate to reestablish a dominating and causal solar principle. All well and good. And then comes the second half. To be honest, I am not sure what he was getting at. And it's probably best I didn't.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stereo

    Fascism aside, this is a decent exploration of alchemy from an interesting fellow.

  5. 4 out of 5

    JA

    It's terse, it's dense, perhaps the translation could have been a bit simpler, but wow, what a unique perspective on the Royal Art and Western Esoterica. While most of the material on Alchemy and Hermetism is filtered through the eyes of Anglo-Britain, Evola gives the Southern European. Latinized perspective if I may be so bold. Be aware this is not a book on laboratory praxis, although it can inspire the lab alchemist, Evola instead encompasses the 'bigger picture' for the gentle reader, and in It's terse, it's dense, perhaps the translation could have been a bit simpler, but wow, what a unique perspective on the Royal Art and Western Esoterica. While most of the material on Alchemy and Hermetism is filtered through the eyes of Anglo-Britain, Evola gives the Southern European. Latinized perspective if I may be so bold. Be aware this is not a book on laboratory praxis, although it can inspire the lab alchemist, Evola instead encompasses the 'bigger picture' for the gentle reader, and indeed all roads lead to the Soul.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    Maybe the best of Evola. Few entirely unfounded historical aberrations, but a wealth of symbols, presented in an interesting, thought-provoking manner based on surprinsingly rich sourcematerial. The "practical" (although quite theoretical) second half is weaker, more rambling. You can see traces of his later "absolute individual" already, so tread carefully (since this is not the goal of alchemy, at least not in the sense he means it), but the exposition throughout the first part is priceless.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    A fascinating, although still obscure and infinitely unpackable look at Hermetico-Alchemical thought as a metaphysical system. The book invites multiple readings as the early crash course in Alchemical symbolism only really begins to do work later, and so a lot of revisiting is required to fully appreciate the explanations given earlier in the book as well as the usage of the symbols later in the work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anja Weber

    Tradition and symbolism, Jung and lot of links with past..Interesting and provoking..

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is not a book to be read but a work to be studied. Very interesting

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    The best introduction to alchemy available in English. Don't expect to understand it for a while.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Will Jones

    A complex read; did not enjoy it as much as other books by Evola. Some parts were interesting; other parts felt like I was reading a horoscope. Most of it flew over my head, and I am not interested enough in alchemy to really study it. Not for casual reading. Surprising to see Nicholas Flamel and the Philosophers Stone mentioned quite a few times, which might be interesting to Harry Potter fans. Lots of footnotes; thoroughly researched.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Strauss

    I’m sure that some people will get more out of this than I did. Not for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Salvatore Cunsolo

    Bellissimo

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    A formulaic description of some rituals and symbols. Like school curricula, something you might need if you have to pass an exam about it. Otherwise, completely useless.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Johan Dingler

    Creo que es el libro más complicado que he leído hasta ahora. Estoy seguro de que volveré a él más de una vez en mi vida.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kjǫlsigʀ

    Another breathtaking scope and scale of insight from the Sicilian Baron; this wealth of rare learning can be mined for new transformations of perspective time and time again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ever

    Fairly dense, but fascinating and worth studying.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mitchell26 McLaughlin

    I was looking for something Hermetic, while this was fully Alchemical.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anabela Costa

    As usual in Julius Evola books, an excellent treatise on alchemy and hermeticism, a book which I strongly advise anyone interested in the subject

  20. 5 out of 5

    Neil Hiscocks

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tomás Pavan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gaston Herrero

  23. 4 out of 5

    Doriyan Dracul

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alessandro

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brad Thompson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Braden

  27. 4 out of 5

    Veneficus

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  29. 5 out of 5

    Manius_Scaevola

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heresiarch

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