Alchemical Ritual

Alchemical Ritual Cover Although the alchemist, who represented the religious bent of his profession, has been viewed as a priest, the identity of his congregation remains unknown. The sources, reading somewhat like tracts of edification, transmit no detail. Some have sensed in the texts evidence of the existence of a loosely structured brotherhood. Others, above all Festugiere (1950, pp. 427–428), took the alchemical devotion (like the Hermetic) to be a cult adhered to by individuals or groups who practiced the “sacred art” and came under the spell of the mystic beliefs inherent in their work. Those nonpractitioners of alchemy who felt attracted were possibly members of the intelligentsia drawn to that particular version of modish Gnosticism. The code that the devotee observed had various specific features. They concern the transmission of the creed, first to him and then from him, and the way of life expected of a spiritual father.

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