Sunday, September 18, 2011
Book Review: The Book of Aquarius by Anonymous
The Book of Aquarius purports to be a no-nonsense, plainly worded guide pertaining to all aspects of the legendary “Philosopher’s Stone”. The author claims to have pieced together the process for creating the Stone from readily available resources, primarily from sifting through the large body of available alchemical literature. Although he appears to speak as one in possession of secret knowledge, he states repeatedly that all salient details regarding the Stone can be referenced to published works of medieval alchemists. Despite the public nature of his sources, he claims this publication puts him at risk, hence the cloak of identity behind Anonymous.
Since ancient times, would-be Alchemists have toiled, with varying degrees of success, in their quest to recreate the magical stone. Many believe that the secrets of alchemy belong to an earlier age, and have long since perished except among a few adepts, who guard it closely. Fiction authors, such as Dan Brown, have woven elaborate plots depicting secret ancient knowledge in the popular Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a non-fiction classic, tracks the history of the esoteric stream from the mists of the ancient past. Always, secrecy is the constant byword regarding this topic.
Anonymous presents a brief history of alchemy and comments on the ever-pervasive secrecy surrounding it. He concedes that the secrets of Alchemy were not appropriate for public circulation during the dark Iron Age of which we are just now exiting. However, he believes that now begins the time, long foretold by sages and prophets, when secrecy shall end and all hidden knowledge is to be revealed. This theme has cropped up from many sources of late, and indeed appears to have become the ruling meme of the day.
The author recounts the legendary uses for the Stone; The white Stone can heal any disease and transmute metals into silver. The red Stone can reverse aging and produce virtual immortality, increase mental powers, and transmute metals into gold. He assures the reader that this is all literally true, and not merely some form of metaphor.
The reader’s eyes may be excused for glossing over at yet another claim of lost esoteric knowledge being revealed. There are any number of modern-day mystery schools and secret societies that claim an esoteric pedigree of one sort or another. Some take credit for developing a complex system for decoding ancient texts, and therefore can now reveal the long-lost hidden knowledge. Everyone seems to have their own system for discerning the truth, but often these truths overlap or contradict one another.
The Book of Aquarius differs from the above by asserting that alchemical knowledge is plainly revealed in the writings of alchemists from the medieval through 19th century period. A glossary of certain key words is presented, which are used interchangeably for the Stone and its ingredients. The author then goes on to describe in detail the process by which the reader can create their very own Philosopher’s Stone, quoting extensively from the aforementioned texts along the way.
So what does one make of this? Is it the real deal? The author assures that it is, and dismisses common spiritual or allegorical interpretations of alchemical teaching. It’s all about the physical Stone, he asserts. He speaks so confidently of the powerful capabilities of the Stone that the reader is surprised to learn, later in the book, that Anonymous hasn’t actually yet succeeded in creating his own Stone. He claims to be well along in the process, but as of yet no cigar. His avid faith in his interpretation of alchemical texts sounds almost like religious fervor. If this were someone with insider knowledge, one would expect such confidence to be based more on substance and experience, rather than mere faith.
As one who tends to analyze any claim of “secrets revealed” with a degree of skepticism, I struggle as to where on the spectrum of truth to place this particular tome. I’m aware that powerful interests can employ a sophisticated disinformation technique that embeds certain critical falsehoods within otherwise plausible and truthful material. For example, some whistleblower documents on UFO and alien activity fall into this category. And coincidently or not, a chapter in the Book of Aquarius discusses a 1948 UFO crash in New Mexico in some detail, and another touches on the “New World Order”.
I suppose that ultimate proof could be obtained by following the author’s prescription for creating the Stone and let the results speak for themselves. However, the process appears to be tedious, and can take over a year or two to complete. Besides, the author speaks of a coming end-of-age “event” that could greatly reduce the population, and it’s not clear that the Stone would offer any protection from that. He admits that living indefinitely can be overrated, and presumes that most of the medieval sages gave up and checked out after a few hundred years of lonely isolation.
I’m still curious and not ruling anything out, but my money is still on a spiritual understanding of Alchemy.
The Book of Aquarius is freely available for download at http://bookofaquarius.forgottenbooks.org/
A free audio book version is included in the download, along with printed version in PDF.