Alchemical Spaces and Tantric Traditions.


Alchemical Spaces and Tantric Traditions.

Patricia Sauthoff will present on "Alchemical Spaces and Tantric Traditions" at the 

Society for Tantric Studies Conference

September 27-29

Flagstaff, Arizona

Northern Arizona University, Cline Library Learning Studio 


This paper examines the spaces and attributes inhabited by an alchemical practitioner. It seeks to
further our knowledge about medieval alchemical practice by situating the alchemist within his
laboratory and comparing the lab in which he performs the transmutation of metals and creation
of elixirs and medicines. The alchemical laboratory is only one alchemical space, and this paper
compares the layouts of three separate alchemical spaces, the laboratory and two temple-like
spaces (rasamaṇḍapa and kuṭi) in which the alchemist consecrates his tools. Through this
comparison we can see how the alchemist utilizes tantric-inspired spaces to further his
alchemical operations.


Image: Detail, rasashala diorama, National Council of Science Museums

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