Kabbalah and Alchemy: An Essay on Common Archetypes by Arturo Schwarz
This remarkable and groundbreaking study explores the author’s view that there is a close correspondence between the basic tenets of alchemy and those of Jewish esoteric tradition, generally known as Kabbalah.
The author, Arturo Schwarz, points out that both alchemy and Kabbalah are frequently distorted in popular as well as scholarly literature. The real concern of alchemy is not to transmute lead into gold, but rather, through the investigation of the self, to evolve from the state of ignorance (symbolized by lead) to that of awareness (symbolized by gold). As Schwarz points out, “this drive toward self-awareness is also basic in the teachings of the major kabbalists.”
Schwarz goes on to explain that in both systems “one of the major instruments of understanding our inner self is love, both physical and spiritual.” Through a careful analysis of the use of sexual imagery in both systems, Schwarz builds his fascinating and eye-opening thesis that alchemy and kabbalistic tradition share profound similarities.