Thursday, October 9, 2014

‘Brian Cotnoir’s Emerald Tablet’

Exciting (if you ask me) news from the book world. From the Khepri Press publicity by Mr. Brian Cotnoir, designer of these magnificent texts—

Actually, first let me tell you about the presentation Cotnoir will make Saturday night at Catland in Brooklyn. From that publicity:

Alchemy and the Workshop

Join Brian Cotnoir, author of the Weiser Concise Guide to Alchemy and upcoming new translation of the Emerald Tablet, for a discussion of the workshops role in the Alchemists practice.

Courtesy Trevor Stewart
The oratory and the laboratory, made famous in Khunraths image, is the starting point for tonights talk. Focusing on the workshop or laboratory, and drawing on two key alchemical texts, the Emerald Tablet and John of Rupescissas De Quinta Essentia, the talk will review the practices of distillation and circulation; show you how to set up a very simple, inexpensive apparatus for both processes; and extract aqua ardens from wine.

Further instructions will be given as to how to prepare the quintessence or fifth essence that, according to Rupescissa, permeates all creation.

After tonight
s talk and demonstration you will have the basic concepts to begin alchemy experimentation and a better idea of how the inner work links to the physical work.

Tickets for this event are available here.

Now back to The Emerald Tablet:

The Emerald Tablet, one of the root texts of alchemy, is a brief alchemical work attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Historically the work is part of the Hermetic corpus and seems to have the same origins as the rest of the Corpus Hermeticum. It describes the cyclic flow of all creation, the basis of alchemical practice.

The text was discovered, according to one legend, by Apollonius of Tyana. After an earthquake, a passageway opened beneath a statue that led to a subterranean chamber. Seated there was a statue of Hermes Trismegistus holding a tablet of green stone (smaragda) engraved with the text of what is now known as the Emerald Tablet. The earliest known surviving texts are attributed to Apollonius of Tyana and it is the Arabic and Latin versions that are considered in this new work.

This is a collection of new translations of the earliest extant Arabic and Latin versions with essay and commentary.

It is a distillation of the chapter on the Emerald Tablet in my forthcoming book Alchemy: The Poetry of Matter. There I present a more complete discussion, analysis and experimentation. Here I present it as a Hermetic work of art – a talismanic book in form, function and result. The Emerald Tablet is not only a fresh contribution to alchemical studies, it is also an example of book art at its finest.

Drawing on the elements of Islamic and Western sacred geometry in their design, the two cover emblems visually indicate the Arabic side and the Latin side of the book. The Latin text is a 12th century translation of the 9th century Arabic text, and they are presented side-by-side with their respective English translations. The accordion book format has the texts and translations on one side, allowing for comparison readings of The Emerald Tablet. On the reverse side is the commentary and brief analysis by Brian Cotnoir. The overall design and typesetting from case to cover to page to word to letter evolved from the same Hermetic principles and follows from these same geometries.

Designed by Brian Cotnoir. Typeset by Lara Captan – English and Latin in Seria and Seria Sans by Martin Majoor; the Arabic in DecoType Naskh by Thomas Milo and Mirjam Somers. Letterpress printed by Roni Gross on Magnani book paper with marbled end sheets. Cover Emblem Designs by Daud Sutton. Bound by Biruta Auna. Polymer plates by Boxcar Press. Brian Cotnoir, author of Alchemy: A Weiser’s Concise Guide, is an independent scholar, researcher, and artist who has written on alchemy and presented seminars and workshops around the world on various aspects of the art.

29 copies Limited Edition Leather Bound in Red Moroccan goat leather
with hot stamping 23k gold: $850.

71 copies Limited Edition Cloth Bound Green Silk
with hot stamping 23k gold: $600.

All copies numbered and signed by author. To be available this fall. To order, write to: info(at)

Speaking of Catland, Cotnoir will appear there October 18 for a book release celebration, with a talk and a reception, from 7 to 9 p.m. Click here.

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