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Colleagues often ask me why I wrote this unusual book. At first, 

it was simply so I could sleep at night. It was a way to marshal the 

extraordinary facts and histories that constantly rotated in my mind and 

became graphically alive at bedtime! Now I think my reason is to restore, 

in a humble way, richness to the mystery tradition at a time when the old 

arts of the philosopher are all but lost.

There are many paths to the mysteries. The most predominant 

organizations in western societies are usually composed of people we 

might call literalists. They would not like the more accurate label of anti- 

philosophers. Literalists believe their traditional histories are unique, 

explain everything and provide enough wisdom to make the rest of 

civilization irrelevant. Usually, they treat their stories as fact rather than 

myth and rarely think about it any further. These people often join many 

societies; yet groan at the mention of a lecture. Archeology provides 

them interesting asides but discoveries are rarely important enough to 

change the faith.

Then there are capital P and small p philosophers. Capital P 

philosophers deride literalists and small p philosophers alike as 

fundamentalists, a dirty word. These capital P philosophers know all 

myths are just that, myths without a historical basis. Unless archeology 

proves something happened then it did not, and the myth is just a story 

having no more merit than a fairy-tale.

This book is for the small p or Gnostic philosophers who have a 

bit each way when it comes to myth. They see myth as having merit and 

are not surprised when archeologists discover a Troy, or if they hear a 

story in the Bible is proved true. Most think that Atlantis will eventually 

be located. Small p philosophers see myths representing important 

elements of culture and if not based on facts then often based on soft 

facts. One such soft fact is alchemy. Its goal is the Philosophers’ Stone.

This book traces the chemistry and philosophy of the 

Philosophers’ Stone from first dynasty Egypt and Mesopotamia through 

the Commagene region of Turkey, to Israel, France and England. It 

particularly focuses on mystery religions and philosophical schools that 

co-existed over thousands of years.

The keys to understanding the Commagene region are metallurgy 

and alchemy. There is a remarkably close connection between metals, 

alchemy, perhaps the true Holy Grail and many esoteric traditions of the


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