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The Alchemy of Colour


The Alchemy of Colour

Albrecht Durer - Wing of a Roller 1512.jpg
Albrecht Durer - Wing of a Roller 1512.jpg

The Alchemy of Colour


A guide through the peacock's tail

An online seminar with Dr. Aaron Cheak

Digital download.

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An Initiation into the World of Colour

This seminar explores the alchemical significance of colour. Tracing the mystery of colour from antiquity to modernity, we first develop the ancient alchemical themes that would dramatically clash, in the seventeenth century, with Newton’s theory of the refraction of light into colour. Focusing on Goethe’s critique of Newton, we then explore the two approaches offered by the Enlightenment and Romantic streams of European culture to the phenomenon of colour. Upon this basis we then turn to the fascinating collaboration between two of the twentieth century’s most important alchemists—René Schwaller de Lubicz and the mysterious Fulcanelli—and how colour articulated the dynamics of a precise Hermetic physics. 

This seminar will be richly illustrated by a wealth of full-colour illustrations and with revealing diagrams created especially for this presentation. In addition, it will feature original translations from Greek, German, and French sources. Based on a decade of academic research, the unique keys to the world of colour offered here will prove invaluable for artists, naturalists, and esoteric practitioners alike—or for anyone to whom the mystery of colour speaks deeply.


Lecture: 90 Minutes

Colour and Ancient Alchemy: East and West

Defining alchemy
The four colour process in Greek alchemy
Elements, humours, temperaments
The serpent and the egg
The colours of the five elements in Chinese alchemy
Taking from water to fill in fire

The Dynamics of Light through the Prism: Goethe and Newton

Newton and the refraction of invisible light
Symmetry and septenary
Goethe’s Farbenlehre
The deeds of light and darkness
Primordial colours
Warm and cool fringes and the unification of opposites

Fulcanelli’s Mysterious Colour Manuscript

René Schwaller de Lubicz, Henri Matisse, Fulcanelli
The purloined manuscript and its symbolic significance
Sevenfold nature of colour as three principles and four elements
The vexing presence of indigo
The fire of the earth
The beast bites its tail