Dr Joseph Farrell has noted that after the gap between the death of the last neo-Platonic magicisan—Iamblicus and the rise of the first modern occult order, the Knights Templars, alchemy and the occult emerged in a fully mature form. This is rather odd since occultic movements develop gradually. How did alchemy emerge fully mature in the absence of relatively 1,000 years?
Farrell suggests that alchemy went underground in the Christian West but was studied by philosophers and occultists who masked it with Trinitarian terminology, specifically that of the Filioque. The following is from Farrell’s The Philosopher’s Stone. Unfortunately, I only have this book in the Amazon Kindle version, which makes it impossible to reference page numbers.
Patriarch Photios of Constantinople noted that the way the Trinity was formed in the West was more appropriate to “sensory things” than to theology. In other words, it had a specifically “physics” veneer to it.
Following the topology from Hermes Trismegistus, we see a metaphor about God: theos, tomos, and cosmos (God, space, and Cosmos). These three are in turn distinguished by a dialectic of opposition based on three elemental functions, each of which implies its own functional opposite.
Farrell comments that alchemy survived the Middle Ages because it was often masked behind the language of the Carolignian Shield. While the Filioque has openly neo-platonic roots, one can also see deep but largely unsuspected roots in Egyptian hermeticism.