November 3rd 2019
2.30 – 4.30 – £15
KABBALAH, RUMI AND HATHOR’S ALCHEMICAL ART
By Alison Roberts
When teaching how to accomplish spiritual unification, Jalaluddin Rumi advises ‘Try alchemy. Change copper into gold’ (Masnavi 1 3894). Surprisingly, he refers here, not to the Sulphur–Mercury theory of metals, which is generally understood to be the basis of alchemy, but to transforming copper, the metal of the love goddess Venus—or Hathor in her Egyptian guise. Indeed, in Book 2 of the Masnavi, Rumi hints at his alchemical lineage, in a long section devoted to Dhu’l Nun al-Misri, the ninth century Egyptian Sufi and alchemist from Akhmim/Panopolis, whom Sufis revere as the transmitter of the Egyptian secrets. What is little known, however, is Akhmim’s long tradition of transforming copper into gold, going back to Hellenistic alchemists, and ultimately to Hathor’s temples. This Egyptian alchemy of love also flowed into the West when Kabbalah was emerging, and the talk explores its affinity with the Tree of Life’s lower and upper faces.
Alison Roberts studied ancient Egyptian and Akkadian at Oxford University where she received her doctorate in 1984. This talk is based on her recent book Hathor’s Alchemy: The Ancient Egyptian Roots of the Hermetic Art (2019).
The talks will start at 2.30pm and end by 4.30pm followed by tea and cakes
Parking is free on Sundays.