The Alchemy of Albertus Magnus

Albertus Magnus was German friar in the 13th century, and is one of the most important figures in the history of alchemy.

Albertus Magnus is an important figure in the history of alchemy, having extensively written and practiced the subject. His writings on alchemy are considered amongst the most important medieval texts on the subject, and he is revered for his alchemical knowledge.

He was a monk in the Dominicon Order, and also according to the Rosicrucians, he was a members of their secret society.

Albertus Magnus was one of the greatest thinkers of the Medieval ages.

The Influence of Albertus Magnus on Alchemy

Albertus Magnus made a number of contributions to the field of alchemy in the 13th century. Some of his most notable contributions include:

Writings on alchemy: Albertus Magnus wrote several works on alchemy, including treatises on the production of gold and the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone. These works were widely read and influenced later alchemical thought.

Experimental approach: Albertus was one of the first alchemists to take an experimental approach to the study of alchemy. He conducted a number of experiments and recorded his observations in his writings, which helped to advance the field.

Classifications of metals: Albertus Magnus developed a classification system for metals that was based on their properties and characteristics. This system was later adopted and modified by other alchemists.

Influence on later alchemists: Albertus Magnus had a significant influence on later alchemists, including Thomas Aquinas, who studied under him. His writings and ideas continued to be studied and discussed for centuries after his death.

Albertus Magnus: Philosopher, Theologian, and Scientist

Magnus was born in 1206 and lived to be 74 years old. He was an Aristotelian philosopher, astrologer, and  researcher of medicine and physics. As a youth he was regarded as being slow, however he experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary, who bestowed great intellectual and philosophical powers.

He went on to become a member of the Dominican Order and a professor of theology, and wrote extensively on logic, metaphysics, ethics, natural philosophy, biology, as well as alchemy.

Albertus Magnus is best known for his “Summa Theologica”, a comprehensive overview of all branches of theology, which was widely read and used as a textbook for centuries after his death. His contributions to natural philosophy helped to lay the foundation for the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Alchemical Writings of Albertus Magnus

Albertus Magnus is believed to have written several works on alchemy. Some of the more well-known works attributed to him include:

De Mineralibus

“De Mineralibus” (On Minerals) is a comprehensive treatise on minerals and their properties, and includes a section on alchemy. In this work, Albertus discusses the preparation of metals and the production of gold. It is considered one of the earliest comprehensive studies of mineralogy, and provides a comprehensive overview of the state of knowledge about minerals and their properties in the medieval period.

The book discusses the physical and chemical properties of minerals, the methods used to extract them from the earth, and the ways in which they could be used for various purposes, such as in medicine, metallurgy, and alchemy. He also provides descriptions of precious stones and metals, and offers insights into their symbolism and cultural significance.

The work draws heavily on the works of earlier authors, such as Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, but also includes original observations and ideas based on the author’s own research and experiments. Albertus Magnus was known for his encyclopedic knowledge and wide-ranging interests, and this book is an example of his commitment to expanding knowledge in the natural sciences.

De Mineralibus remains an important resource for historians, scientists, and those interested in the development of natural philosophy and the scientific method.

Liber de Alchimia

This is a shorter work, which translates to Book of Alchemy, deals with the practice of alchemy and its related concepts. In this work, Albertus Magnus provides a comprehensive overview of alchemical concepts and practices, including the processes involved in transmuting base metals into gold and the use of alchemical substances in medicine.

In “Liber de Alchimia”, Albertus Magnus discusses the nature of matter, the properties of metals and other substances, and the principles of chemical transformation. He also provides detailed descriptions of the equipment and techniques used in alchemical experiments, and provides advice for conducting experiments and interpreting results.

The work reflects Albertus Magnus’s deep understanding of alchemical theory and practice, as well as his commitment to expanding knowledge in the natural sciences. However, it should be noted that alchemy was a controversial field in the medieval period, and that many of its claims and practices were not accepted by the wider scientific community.

De Secretis Mulierum et Virorum

This work is a collection of recipes and remedies, and includes a section on alchemy. The title translates to On the Secrets of Women and Men, and it deals with the topic of medicine and related sciences, particularly the differences between men and women in anatomy, physiology, and disease. The work is considered an important medieval text on medicine and science, and provides a comprehensive overview of the state of knowledge about the human body and related topics in the medieval period.

In “De Secretis Mulierum et Virorum”, Albertus Magnus provides detailed descriptions of the anatomy and physiology of both men and women, including their reproductive systems, and discusses the causes and symptoms of various diseases and conditions that affect both genders. He also provides advice on treatments for these conditions, including both surgical and non-surgical methods, and emphasizes the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet in maintaining good health.

It should be noted that the authenticity of some of these works has been challenged, and some scholars believe that they may have been written by later alchemists who used Albertus Magnus’s name to lend credibility to their own works. Nevertheless, these texts have been widely read and studied, and have had a significant impact on the development of alchemical thought.

Albertus Magnus and St Thomas Aquinas

Albertus Magnus was the mentor of another legendary figure from the 13th century: St Thomas Aquinas, who was also a Dominican monk, and famous philosopher. He is often regarded as the greatest of the Scholastic philosopher’s, the branch of thinking that Magnus and him were part of. Aquinas is known for his synthesis of Christian theology and Aristotelian philosophy. Magnus left his alchemical formulas to Aquinas, including (according to legend) the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone.

Artist rendering of Albertus Magnus and St Thomas Aquinas.

Albertus Magnus and the Android

According the book The Secret Teachings of All Ages, after Magnus mastered the magical sciences, he began constructing a special project called the Android. It was crafted out of metal, some of which were created alchemy and endued with magical qualities through incantations, and was made with the ability to speak and think. However, St. Thomas Aquinas thought the creation was diabolical, and destroyed it, ruining over thirty years of work Magnus had put into the project.

Albertus Magnus and the Rosicrucians

As a member of the Dominican Order, Magnus lived a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and his writings reflect his commitment to the principles of his religious order. However, according to the Rosicrucians, Magnus was a member of their organization, and through his connections made there he learned alchemy.

The Rosicrucians were a secret society that emerged in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, with roots in the earlier mystical and philosophical traditions of the Renaissance. The name “Rosicrucian” is derived from the symbols of the rose and the cross, which were used to represent the society and its teachings.

The Rosicrucians are represented by a rose and cross.

The Rosicrucians were a hidden brotherhood of sages who possessed ancient knowledge and wisdom, and who sought to promote the betterment of humanity through their teachings. They wrote a number of works, including the “Fama Fraternitatis” and the “Confessio Fraternitatis”, which described their beliefs and goals. These works emphasized the importance of spiritual and moral development, and advocated for the advancement of science and the promotion of peace.

The Inventions of Albertus Magnus

Magnus is credited with the discovery of arsenic, which is a chemical element found in many minerals, and is harmful to humans. He also experimented with silver nitrate and discovered its photosensitive nature. This discover later led to the discovery of photography. According to Hermetic lore, Magnus was a master alchemist who made supernatural inventions not recognized by academics, such as the android he created using metal and magical incantations.

What was Albertus Magnus known for?

Although known as an alchemist first and foremost by many, Magnus is remembered differently by mainstream thinking. He is a celebrated medieval thinker, including having a college in Connecticut named after him. He is known for his work on chemistry, botany, astronomy, physics, biology, and mineralogy. His contributions are also recognized in other fields such as logic, psychology, meteorology, and geography.

Recommended Reading

If you want to continue exploring this subject more deeply, you can see which books I recommend by clicking here.

Everet Dee

Everet Dee is a writer and researcher with a passion for metaphysics, philosophy, hidden history, the occult, the esoteric, and religion.

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