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On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Many regard alchemy as a metaphor for inner transformation. But this is only half the story. According to Catherine MacCoun, alchemy is no mere metaphor. It’s real magic. Transforming the inner world is, for the alchemist, a way to transform the outer world. Through studying the principles of alchemy, we can achieve extraordinary effects from ordinary actions by understand ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Shambhala
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Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this is a great book for anyone going through any kind of internal transformation..I loved the way she addresses the challenges as well as the opportunities (too often spiritual books leave me feeling there is something wrong with having challenges on the path). she is frank, engaging and an entertaining writer...
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, a great guide to practical alchemy. You can't go wrong starting here or ending up here. All the obtuse alchemical literature I read before finding this book is refined by Maccoun so I'm able to grasp both the larger picture of generating a great Work and its details. ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic, lifestyle
A powerful, subtle book that shares an impressive array, and depth of information that can be utilized within any category of life focused on improving.
The subtitle offers a glimpse at the power of these tools. The language, and tone are personable, easily conveying the sense that this book, every word, is for the reader; a friend passing knowledge. Several instances when the answers, or techniques look simplistic, demonstrates how the secrets are more obvious than expected, although, as the aut
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the tone and intellect of the author. There was a little too much confident talk about ghosts for me to take this seriously. Saying matter of factly that there are ghosts and that you understand them doesn't sit well with me. ...more
Aimee Sparrow
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written and well thought out account of what it means to become an alchemist and at the same time uncover, create, and develop the philosopher's stone. It's not what you would expect and it's strangely telling in how we do not pay attention to certain aspects of our humanity and desires. Regardless of its spiritual implications, this is an excellent book to read if you are on the road to self discovery or to strengthen your own convictions on life. Prepare for your thinking to bec ...more
Anthony Tait
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good work

Brilliant writing
Clear and motivating
Ita early in the morning and i despise amazon for forcing mentors keep writing
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I loved this stupendous novel, fast pace and intriguing.
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Well devised magnificent plot.
Jun 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Magnificent! Next one please!
Jul 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
It was a fast paced and well done spirituality.
Jul 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, it is both giving me a feeling of future yet reachable in the present.
Jul 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
The characters are so well drawn, and there are great little easter eggs embedded throughout the novel that I won't divulge, so I don't spoil them for other readers. ...more
Jul 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book immensely.
Jul 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Built on an intense sense of place and personality.
One of the best books on the subject of Alchemy. Yes, yes, there are many books out there, but lets admit it, they are all so dry and convoluted. So hard to read. And yes, I know why, but still... I love Catherine's writing. She is like a friend you want to have. Well, at least, I want to have. She is empathetic, funny, warm, cynical, smart, human and really knows what she is writing about. Its been a year and a half since I read the book and I went back and re-read parts of it at least 10 times ...more
Ross Tierney
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what I expected out of my first book on alchemy, but this was probably a good place to start. It's both dissatisfying in its lack of concrete, grandiose alchemical experiments to conduct immediately, but also elucidating in illustrating the core concepts of alchemy in general. I find myself thinking about some of these subjects (subtle perception, transmutation, astral projections) when my deeply rational mind doesn't quite have the tools to understand them fully. This, I suppose, i ...more
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent read, written from the perspective from personal experiences of the author. It is also written in an approachable manner ie-she uses many day to day examples and allegories when talking about the alchemical processes. I would recommend this not only to those curious about spiritual alchemy, but those as well who are into esoteric and hermetic studies generally, in the sense of spiritual unfoldment, progression on ones path ect, this book would complement things to that natu ...more
Noah Talon
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is, without exaggeration, the best book I've read to date in terms of guiding and influencing my life.

It is rich and dense like a textbook but presented in a charming, fun, nurturing, and conversational tone.

I expect to return to its pages many times. This is the curriculum I wish I was taught in school and Catherine MacCoun is the teacher I wished had taught me. Very easy to relate to, understand, and implement. It is understated and yet packs life-changing potential (world-changing even)
Juanita Baltz
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read a lot of information about alchemy and alchemists all seemed fanciful and frankly impossible. This book I have read multiple times and made notes that are helpful but I know I have not reached the complete essence. Do not expect to turn lead to gold but to expect to take many things and make them better for you and those around you. Dare to try it.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wrote notes and I put some of the exercises given into practice. It is an engaging and practical book for someone interested in the subject. There were some things that I definitely disagree with the author with regarding her philosophy and view of society. However it is a book with many sections I wouldn't mind reading over and over again. ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Would perhaps give 3.5 stars--fascinating read, coming from not knowing anything about alchemy. Sort of "convenient" that there are parts of the practice you have to be able think about without thinking about and certain things that can't be spoken about, but there were still helpful/intriguing points to consider. ...more
Mar 22, 2009 rated it liked it
A quick "how to" guide; what could be better?! ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, philosophy
Throughly enjoyed reading On Becoming An Alchemist, and one of the few books I actually go back and flip through. Each time I do, I catch something I missed before.
Jun 15, 2013 marked it as to-read
Can I read this on the app?
Amy Herring
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is written SO well and clearly. Her analogies are perfect to drive home her point. Its not in any way preachy and its totally accessibly. Loved it.
Maxime Lessard
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not my favorite writing-style as it sometimes felt borderline-condescending, but worth reading until the last pages. It does contains a lot of wisdom.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've now read this 5 times and each time I pick up something new. I love it, and would highly recommend it. ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book about inner transformation,will keep me company until I leave this planet,if anyone has suggestions for inner work has good as this one please let me know !
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Deliberately written to bore those with short attention spans. She is like my other beloved, Bourdieu, in this.

One of my favorite books ever.
Dr. Cheryl S. Vanatti
Read my thoughts over on Many a Quaint & Curious Volume: https://manyaquaintandcuriousvolume.b... ...more
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