Luther on Alchemy

In researching Christian Hermeticism in general, and Christian explorations of Alchemy and Tarot in particular, I came across this fascinating comment by Martin Luther, yes, the father of the Protestant Reformation:

“The science of alchemy I like well, and, indeed, ’tis the philosophy of the ancients. I like it not only for the profits it brings in melting metals, in decocting preparing, extracting, and distilling herbs, roots; I like it also for the sake of the allegory and secret signification, which is exceedingly fine, touching the resurrection of the dead at the last day. For, as in a furnace the fire extracts and separates from a substance the other portions, and carries upward the spirit, the life, the sap, the strength, while the unclean matter, the dregs, remain at the bottom, like a dead and worthless carcass; even so God, at the day of judgment, will separate all things through fire, the righteous from the ungodly.”

I knew his mate Melanchthon was into Alchemy but this is very interesting. It would seem that those of us delving into ways of contextualizing Christianity within esoteric contexts are merely following in the footsteps of the Reformer par excellence.

3 thoughts on “Luther on Alchemy

  1. I beleive that there is a lot of alchemical significance in the bible. It is always talking about the refiners fire and turning us into the finest gold. Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt which is one of the main three alchemical substances. I think that there may be some significance of the colours of the 4 horesmen of ezekiels vision.
    And of course the ultimate alchemical reference is of Jesus, the true philosophers stone, the only true answer to the quest for eternal life.

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  2. Hey, I hadn’t picked up on Lot’s wife before. Thanks for that. And yes, I think there is lots of space for conversation on Alchemy and Christianity, on Christ as the quintessence.

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