Alchemy



Valentine andreae (1586–1654)

Valentine Andreae (or Andreas) was a Lutheran pastor who held as his ideal not only Martin Luther (1483–1546), the powerful guiding force behind the Protestant Reformation, but also Christian Rosencreutz (1378–1484), legendary founder of the Rosicrucian mystical movement, and Paracelsus (1493–1541), the revered alchemist. Andreae was a brilliant scholar who

as a youth had traveled widely throughout Europe and had risen in the clerical ranks to become a chaplain at the Court of Wurtemberg, Germany. Embittered by the misery that had been brought to his fatherland as a result of the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), Andreae became an apologist for the Rosicrucians and wrote The Hermetic Romance or The Chemical Wedding (1616), an allegorical autobiography of Christian Rosencreutz the founder of the fraternity. Since the seal of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, the seal of Martin Luther, and the crest of the Andreae family all bear the image of the cross and the rose, understandable confusion has arisen from time to time regarding the "autobiography." Upon the book's initial publication, many scholars, aware that Rosencreutz had been dead for 130 years, speculated that his spirit had dictated the work. Later academic debates swirled around the question of whether or not Andreae and Rosencreutz were the same person and whether the Fraternity was actually founded in the seventeenth century, rather than the fifteenth.

Andreae admitted the work was his own and proclaimed it an allegorical novel written in tribute to Rosencreutz, as well as a symbolic depiction of the science of alchemy and Hermetic magic. Others identified the work as a comic romance, lightly depicting the most profound alchemical symbols in a fanciful manner. The royal wedding to which the hero Rosencreutz is invited is in reality the alchemical process itself in which the female and male principles are joined together. As the novel continues, the vast arcana of alchemical truths are represented by various animals, mythological beings, and human personalities.

In addition to being an advocate of alchemy and the process of contacting intermediary spirits to accomplish good for society, Andreae believed in becoming an active reformer of social ills, as well as supporting the reformation of the church. His treatises The Tower of Babel (1619) and The Christianopolitan Republic (1620) argue in favor of a general transformation of European society.


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