Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Alchemy

  • Carl Gustav Jung

    Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Carl Jung. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Creative Commons. In the autumn of 1913, Carl Gustav Jung was traveling alone by train through the rust and amber forest of the Swiss countryside. The thirty-eight-year-old psychiatrist had been lately troubled by strange dreams and a rising sense of tension,…

  • The wayward Paracelsus

    JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus). Via Wikimedia. Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest Let no man be another’s who can be himself Paracelsus 1552   Paracelsus was the most original, controversial character of the Renaissance,1 who brazenly questioned and condemned the dictates of Galen and…

  • The hectic life of Leonardo Fioravanti

    Leonardo Fioravanti. Via Wikimedia. The first part of Leonardo Fioravanti’s life was uneventful; the second was tumultuous.1 Born in Bologna in 1517,1-4 he was fortunate in 1527 to survive a violent epidemic that may have been typhus. At age sixteen he began to study medicine, probably as an indentured apprentice to a barber-surgeon. At twenty-two…

  • The Philosophers’ Stone: History and myth

    S.E.S. MedinaBenbrook, Texas, United States “Of all Elixirs, Gold is supreme and the most important for us . . . gold can keep the body indestructible . . . Drinkable gold will cure all illnesses, it renews and restores.”—Paracelsus (1493–1541 AD) – Coelum Philosophorum1 “The universal medicine which cures all human and metallic diseases is…

  • The midwives of San Gimignano, 1336

    Mary A. Osborne Chicago, Illinois, United States Before the story line for Alchemy’s Daughter flew into my imagination, the idea of writing historical fiction had not occurred to me. I had penned a number of short stories, often inspired by my experiences as a home care nurse, and two semiautobiographical novels that no publisher wanted.…

  • Dreams of healing

    Rev. Kari Lindholm-JohnsonChicago, Illinois, USA As a chaplain at Swedish Covenant Hospital, I am continually humbled in experiencing the force of people’s desire for healing. Patients willingly subject themselves to rigorous treatments in the pursuit of life, entrusting themselves to healthcare workers. This strong yearning for healing was explored in the Dreams of Healing art…

  • Paracelsus: physician and alchemist

    Alexandru Gh. SonocSibiu, Romania This painting shows the famous alchemist and physician Paracelsus holding a retort in his hands and standing in front of a furnace on which is placed a glass balloon. In front of the furnace a pair of bellows lie on the floor, which are covered with plates displayed in a chessboard…

  • Bosch’s Stone Operation: Meaning, medicine, and morality

    Laurinda DixonNew York, United States The Stone Operation (fig. 1) (ca. 1488 or later), also known as The Cure of Folly, by the Dutch fifteenth-century painter Hieronymus Bosch (ca. 1450-1516), is, like all of his works, bizarre and incomprehensible by modern standards of reality.1 The painting depicts a surgeon, dressed in the characteristic reddish robe…