Seekers Of Wisdom | Articles


Nicolas Flamel :
the Philosopher’s stone, and immortality

By Charbel Tadros
Posted February 2004

      The Philosopher’s stone, a magical substance created by the Ancient Egyptian priests. It is said to be able to transform any metallic substance into pure gold (also called the transmutation of metals). Not only that, the Philosopher’s stone is said to be used to make “the Elixir of life”. This elixir is a sort of drink able to make whoever drinks it live much longer than usual. Possessing this marvelous stone means unlimited life and wealth. But does it really exist?

     In 1330, according to records, a man was born. His name was Nicolas Flamel. Flamel was a bookseller at Saint-Jacques la Boucherie in Paris, that’s what everyone knew about him other than he was extremely generous that they named a street in France after him: “Rue Nicolas Flamel”. But this man had a secret ambition that only he and his wife Pernelle knew about. He was in a search for the philosopher’s stone.

     One night, as he describes in his diaries, an angel visited him with a book in his hands and said: “Look well at this book, Nicholas. At first you will understand nothing in it -- neither you nor any other man. But one day you will see in it that which no other man will be able to see.” Nicolas stretched his hand to receive the gift but the whole scene disappeared in the light of dreams. Few days later, his dream was partly realized. One day, a poor man came into Flamel’s book shop with a manuscript hidden in covers. Nicolas welcomed him just as he would welcome any other guy trying to sell him a book. He unwrapped the manuscript and, to his surprise, it was the same book that the angel had in the dream. He immediately bought it for two florins without even bargaining. He opened the book which was very beautiful, and found out that its writer is Abraham the Jew -- prince, priest, Levite, astrologer, and philosopher. The book contained many combined ancient languages that Flamel was unable to decipher.

     Nicolas thought that since the writer of this book was a Jew, another Jew must be able to help him translate it. But, to Flamel's luck, all the Jews were recently kicked out of France. He discovered that the Jews were settling in parts of Spain such as Grenada. So, since he was desperate to translate this book, he went to Spain leaving his wife to take care of his bookshop. He took only few pages of the book that he had copied because he was afraid of robbers on the roads. He wandered in Spain for some time but for a man of over fifty years in age, home was calling and the Jews in Spain weren’t comfortable talking to a French guy since the French expelled them from their country.

     He decided to leave Spain back to his home where pernelle was waiting. On his way, he passed through Leon where he stopped at an inn and happened to sup at the same table as a French merchant from Boulogne, who was traveling on business. He felt like he was able to trust this merchant with his secret so he did and, to his luck, this merchant happened to know a certain Maestro Canches, an old man who lived at Leon. Nothing was easier than to introduce this Maestro Canches to Nicolas Flamel, who decided to make one more attempt before leaving Spain.

     Maestro helped Nicolas translate the pages that he had brought but they needed to translate the rest of the book in order to be able to make and use the philosopher’s stone. Canches decided to come back to France with Nicolas so he converted his religion to Christian but his health went bad and he died soon afterwards. Nicolas was very sad about his friend’s death but he had to know the secret of the book so he used what his friend taught him and succeeded in translating the rest of this book.

     At first he succeeded in transforming metals into pure gold which he did not use for his benefits, he built houses for the poor and did many great good deeds. Later he prepared a great funeral for his wife’s, probably fake, death and another for himself.

     It is believed that he did discover the secret of immortality: two hundred years after his death, curious robbers about his fast wealth opened his and his wife’s tombs to find them both still new and empty.

      The story of Nicolas Flamel seemed to have died until it was revived in the seventeenth century by King Louis VIV who sent an archaeologist by the name of Paul Lucas on a mission to the East. In his book about his journey “Voyage dans la Turquie”, Lucas recounts a meeting with a Turkish philosopher who told him a story: “This philosopher was a member of a group of seven philosophers, who belonged to no particular country and traveled all over the world, having no other aim than the search for wisdom and their own development. Every twenty years they met at a pre-determined place, which happened that year to be Broussa. According to him, human life ought to have an infinitely longer duration than we admit; the average length should be a thousand years. A man could live a thousand years if he had knowledge of the Philosopher's Stone, which, besides being the knowledge of the transmutation of metals, was also the knowledge of the Elixir of life. The sages possessed it and kept it for themselves. In the West, there were only a few such sages. Nicolas Flamel had been one of them.” Paul Lucas was astonished that a Turk, whom he had met by chance at Broussa, should be familiar with the story of Flamel. He was still more astonished when the Turk told him how the book of Abraham the Jew had come into Flamel's possession, for thus far no one had known this. “Abraham the Jew was a member of our group," the man told him. "He had determined not to lose sight of the descendants of his brothers who had taken refuge in France. He had a desire to see them, and in spite of all we could do to dissuade him he went to Paris. He made the acquaintance there of a rabbi who was seeking the Philosopher's Stone, and our friend became intimate with the rabbi and was able to explain much to him. But before he left the country the rabbi, by an act of treachery, killed our brother to get possession of his book and papers. The rabbi was arrested, convicted of this and other crimes and burned alive. The persecution of the Jews in France began not long afterwards, and they were expelled from the country. The book of Abraham was sold to Flamel by a Jewish man who did not know its value and was anxious to get rid of it before leaving Paris. Having discovered the Philosopher's Stone, Flamel was able to remain alive in the physical form he possessed at the time of his discovery. Pernelle's and his own funerals and the minute care he bestowed on the arrangements for them had been nothing but clever shams.”

     Could it be that Nicolas Flamel discovered the philosopher’s stone and used it to immortalize himself and his wife? If he did, what is scientifically, chemically, and biologically the philosopher’s stone and who will be the next lucky guy to receive the book of Abraham the Jew?

 TIP   Most of our Topics and Articles are discussed in our Facebook Group