Interview by Jeff Belanger

Jeff Belanger - December 16, 2005 author interview

Sorcerer's Stone: A Beginner's Guide to Alchemy by Dennis William Hauck
Sorcerer's Stone: A Beginner's Guide to Alchemy
By Dennis William Hauck
Publisher: Citadel (May 2004)
Pages: 240 - Price: $12.95

Dennis William Hauck is an author and lecturer working to facilitate personal, institutional, and global transformation through the application of the ancient principles of alchemy. readers may know him best as the author of the Haunted Places: The National Directory and the International Directory of haunted Places. In his book, Sorcerer's Stone, Hauck takes readers on a journey into alchemy. had the opportunity to ask him about alchemy and about his book.


What is alchemy?

The simplest definition of alchemy is that it is the art of transformation. The alchemists believed the universe is constantly striving towards perfection, and the alchemists tried to find ways to hasten that process on all levels of mind, matter, and spirit. 

How has alchemy changed over the centuries?

When alchemy began over 5,000 years ago, it was a unique fusing of religion and science. It is hard for us to understand such a unified viewpoint. Today, alchemy has split into practical work and spiritual work, although the guiding principle is still to unite these opposing paths. According to alchemy, no change is complete or lasting unless it is accomplished on all levels of reality -- the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. 

Who is doing alchemy today?

I personally know about three dozen people with laboratories practicing alchemy, making elixirs, and working on the metals. The Alchemy Guild ( has members in 23 countries. Most people today are practicing spiritual alchemy for personal development.

How did you get started in it?

I was in graduate school at the University of Vienna studying mathematics. I discovered a room in the basement of the library containing hundreds of old alchemy books that were kept out of circulation. The pictures and words fascinated me. After a long search, I found a practicing alchemist in Prague and he took me on as an apprentice. He instructed me in the techniques for over a year, and his only pay was a carton of Camel cigarettes every once in awhile. Through him I met other alchemists in Europe. 

What can one gain from practicing alchemy?

The Hermetic teachings of alchemy contain many "secrets" about the nature of what is called the "Whole Universe." That is just not our universe in time and space but every multidimensional possibility. In other words, alchemists seek principles that operate in all universes on all levels. Whether they succeed or not is really irrelevant, since just the effort expands one's consciousness and frees one from cultural, historic, and educational biases. Practicing alchemy sets you free. 

How would you contrast alchemy with Witchcraft? Is alchemy a belief

Witchcraft is a belief system, a very organized and even dogmatic group of people. In alchemy, having a belief is actually a hindrance. On the other hand, true alchemists feel that thoughts, judgments, and beliefs are a kind of Salt or matter that gets in the way of the pure consciousness necessary to do the Great Work of transformation. The goal is to keep the mind fluid or mercurial. For the alchemist (and modern quantum physicists too, I should note), pure consciousness is a force of nature. The problem is that consciousness gets polluted by culture and contaminated by personal experiences and loses its magic. 

What prompted you to write Sorcerer's Stone: A Beginner's Guide to

I would like to say I did it as a gift to the world, but actually I did it to spite French alchemists. They are the fundamentalists of alchemy and do not want any of the genuine principles of alchemy to be revealed. Believe it or not, I got a lot of hate mail from them after I wrote my first book on alchemy,
The Emerald Tablet

Can you give an example of a simple alchemist experiment readers could
try at home using materials they may already have?

It is very easy to make an alchemical tincture using the sealed jar method. Fill a jar about 1/3 full of fresh oregano (or other spice or herb) and add Vodka until it fills half the jar and covers the oregano. Alchemists made their own alcohol from wine and the higher the proof the better. Everclear or White Lightening works best. Vodka is weaker but has no odor or taste, so it is a fitting substitute. The alcohol "spiritizes" the oregano and extracts its "soul" or essential oil, which is dissolved in the alcohol and gives it a special coloring or signature (this is the tincturing). Shake the mixture vigorously for 2-3 minutes, then let it sit. The next phase is "animating the mercury" (or innate consciousness) of the herb. Open the jar and focus your undivided attention on the contents. With intention, try to project your own life force into the mixture. You may have to meditate or relax or do whatever it takes to feel that this is really happening. Just have sympathy and love for the substance and really want to bring it alive. Then seal the jar again and store it in a dark, quiet place. Next, 2-3 times a day, "mother" the mixture by shaking or swirling the jar gently and lovingly. Little droplets forming on the lid and sides of the jar indicate that an inner distillation process has begun, which means the essence or soul of oregano has survived and the tincture is coming alive. In 2-3 weeks, the process should be complete. Strain out the "dregs" (used up herb) through a coffee filter and save the colored solution. This is the tincture. Take 5-6 drops under the tongue as an energizer that strengthens the body's vital centers. On the physical level, it is a powerful antibiotic that kills viruses and bacteria and has been used to treat pneumonia and throat infections. For this to be a true spagyric tincture, we would have to do all these operations under the influences of the planet Mercury, which is the signature of oregano. For charts of the planetary hours, visit my website at

What's the first music album you ever bought?

It was
Roundabout by Yes. I will really be surprised if anyone gets that! Later I really got into U2, and I still love early U2, so maybe that should count. But today, I just can't get enough Rap. I guess we just evolve musically too. LOL.