The Pass-Keys to Alchemy, Lapidus
"The Pass-Keys to Alchemy is a must-have for all serious researchers ... Aside from the historic uncovering of this manuscript not available until now, it confirms the knowledge of the Lapidus / David Curwen character and his place amongst the modern genuine alchemists, of which the 20th century may have yielded two others to our knowledge. The reader will be very interested by Lapidus’ approach on what is usually referred to as putrefaction, and his higher understanding of Nature’s work which does not destroy the seed but allows the potential image – we would now say the hologram – of the seed to be released. More profound statements of this kind give The Pass-Keys uniqueness in our understanding of alchemy and a 20th century approach to the understanding of Nature that remains in concordance with the old texts. Of course, to remain true to the tradition, Lapidus does not reveal the practice in a ‘cookbook recipe’ fashion, but gives valuable hints that will help the practitioner on his path and give food for thought to even the casual reader."- Patrice Maleze, Philosophers of Nature (PoN)
"... In Pursuit of Gold, which first appeared when Lapidus was 83 years old, crystallised decades of study as well as the practical application of the alchemical process. It is an iconic work and this sister book, The Pass-Keys to Alchemy, complements it with additional assistance to current students in the art ..."
- Tony Matthews, grandson of Lapidus
About the book:
Lost for more than three decades, the companion volume to In Pursuit of Gold has been found.
For decades students of alchemy have believed that In Pursuit of Gold – hailed upon its 1976 publication as a rare work by one of the few practicing laboratory alchemists writing in English during the mid-to-late 20th century – constituted the sole alchemical text penned by the enigmatic alchemist Lapidus. The truth is that Lapidus – real name David Curwen – wrote a second text which, unknown to most, he secreted away with at least one trusted Brother in the Art. Throughout the intervening years this remarkable book, The Pass-Keys to Alchemy, has passed through just a few select and trusted hands.
Each of the chapters of The Pass-Keys to Alchemy details one pass-key to the successful confection of the Philosophers’ Stone, as identified by Lapidus. Drawing upon the writings of Eirenæus Philalethes and Ali Puli, The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus the Great, Bendictus Figulus’ A Golden and Blessed Casket of Nature’s Marvels, Sir Edward Kelly’s Book of St. Dunstan, and Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens among other canonical texts, this lost alchemical masterpiece includes the kind of profound insights into alchemical theory, laboratory processes and practical methods that only derive from a lifetime of quiet alchemical work.
A rare alchemical gem in print for the first time, The Pass-Keys to Alchemy also includes an introductory essay by Tony Matthews, grandson of Lapidus, and 16 of Theodor de Bry’s masterful engraved emblems from Atalanta Fugiens with accompanying commentary by Lapidus.
About the author:
Writing under the nom de plume of Lapidus, David Curwen (1893-1984) was one of the most mysterious personalities of modern alchemysticism, and one of the very few practicing laboratory alchemists residing in the United Kingdom during the latter half of the 20th century. In the decades since the publication of the first edition of In Pursuit of Gold in 1976, many have speculated regarding the true identity of Lapidus, and a few individuals have even laid claim to be the enigmatic adept. An intensely private man, very little information has been publicly available about Lapidus prior to the publication of the revised and expanded second edition of In Pursuit of Gold by Salamander and Sons in 2011.
During the period 1944 to 1947 David Curwen engaged in a notable correspondence with the ageing Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley. This dialogue is collected in Brother Curwen, Brother Crowley: A Correspondence (2010) published by The Teitan Press.