Reviews of Books by D.W. Hauck


Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 15, Vol. 2. Autumnal Equinox 2008

The Complete Idiotís Guide to Alchemy, Dennis William Hauck.

Alpha Books; NY, 2008. 311 pages. $16.95 USD


by Samuel Scarborough

     As has been pointed out in my other book review on alchemy, there has been resurgence in the interest of alchemy in the esoteric community over the last few years. One of the more prolific writers on this topic in recent years has been Dennis William Hauck, who has written such alchemical books as The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation and The Sorcererís Stone: A Beginners Guide to Alchemy has contributed to this renewed interest within the esoteric community.

Mister Hauck once again adds to the teachings of modern alchemy in his latest book, The Complete Idiotís Guide to Alchemy. As the name implies, the book is part of that successful series of books, The Complete Idiotís Guide, that have those bright orange covers. Do not let the concept of Complete Idiotís Guide fool you, though. The material is not too watered down, but worded in such a way that anyone can read it and come away with at least a basic understanding of the topic presented in the book. Hauck does just that in this book Ė he reduces many of the most complex subjects in alchemy to easy to understand concepts and definitions.

     The contents of the book are broken into six parts. These parts are: Part 1: Introduction to Alchemy; Part 2: The Principles of Alchemy; Part 3: The Operations of Alchemy; Part 4: Practical Alchemy; Part 5: Spiritual Alchemy; and Part 6: Modern Alchemy. There are also two Appendices; one on Resources that covers a basic bibliography, as well as websites; and one that is a Glossary of useful alchemical terms.

     Each of the various parts of the book is broken down into chapters that cover the different topics that relate to the overall theme of the part. For instance, in Part 1: Introduction to Alchemy, Mr. Hauck covers some basic history relating to alchemy and some of the legends associated with ancient alchemy and alchemists. Part 2: The Principles of Alchemy covers such topics as the secret language of the alchemists, what the First Matter is, the Four Elements, the Three Essentials, and the Philosopherís Stone. Part 3: The Operations of Alchemy discusses the Planets and the three phases of alchemical work. Part 4: Practical Alchemy takes a look at what is inside the alchemistís laboratory, the process of Spagyric (plant alchemy) work, working with the metals associated with the Seven Planets, and how to set up a basic alchemical laboratory in your kitchen. Part 5: Spiritual Alchemy covers the broad range of topics associated with uniting your spirit with the divine in the Magnum Opus (Great Work), and finally in Part 6: Modern Alchemy, Hauck discusses how alchemy applies to medicine, magic, and social uses of alchemy.

     Alchemy is a broad subject that cannot be condensed into a single book so that every person can pick it up and begin to practice the Royal Art. What Dennis Hauck does with this book, The Complete Idiotís Guide to Alchemy, is give the long-time student and the new seeker the basics to understand alchemy. For the long-time student he presents the material so they may be able to look at it in a new light, and certainly be able to explain it to anyone, especially a new person seeking information on alchemy. For the new student seeking to understand alchemy, or to even begin practicing alchemy, here is a book that gives the new student a firm foundation in alchemical thought and practice.

     The Complete Idiotís Guide to Alchemy is not a pretty book to sit on your shelf, with its bright orange cover. It is a case for not judging a book by its cover, though as the material inside that bright cover has many great points to help both the new person and the practiced hand. Aside from one point in the historical section where the material is ambiguous in relation to a person and event, the overall material is very clear and concise. While I do not like some of the New Age ramifications that Mr. Hauck includes in the latter chapters of the book, these sections will appeal to some people interested in alchemy in one form or another. The book has pointers and helpful hints throughout that are great additions to the material, the material is clearly discussed by someone who has more than a clue about this difficult and often misunderstood subject. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any form of interest in alchemy whatsoever.

"Thank you for turning such an Idiot's Guide into a magically-majestic tome to be appreciated by all!" - Gabriel Quinn Maroney, Green Lion Society

"The Idiot's Guide to Alchemy (by Dennis William Hauck) is clear and brilliant and down to earth! The book is written by a certified alchemist, who was trained by one of the last traditional Italian philosopher-scientists. -

THE EMERALD TABLET: Alchemy for Personal Transformation

"The teachings of the Emerald Tablet have been a powerful force for transformation during crucial periods in Western culture. Now these deep insights are once again finding illumination through the scholarship of Dennis William Hauck. Every reader who gives this book the thoughtfulness it requires will discover a treasure of inner riches." - Jeffrey Mishlove Ph.D. (Director of Intuition Network; host of PBS-TV's "Thinking Allowed")

"Hauck shares with his readers a remarkable path for spiritual change. THE EMERALD TALBLET combines esoteric wisdom with practical advice; its use of the metaphor of al-chemy to describe transformation follows in the tradition of Carl Jung's depth psychology." - Stanley Krippner Ph.D. (Director of Consciousness Studies, the Saybrook Institute)

"Hauck's book is important to the future frontiers of both medicine and psychology. The material provides the basis for changing current health theories from an emphasis on path-ology to an emphasis on transformation. It explains in clear language with interesting examples the simple, yet complex, steps in transformation and achieving peak potential. It is my hope that providers of mind/body healing would use this information to stimulate their own growth and enhance their ability to practice healthcare." - Marie DiCowden Ph.D. (Director of the Biscayne Institutes of Health)

"The influence of the Emerald Tablet on Western intellectual and spiritual development is an unquestionable fact. Hauck's contribution reflects a serious effort to present this age-old wisdom in a form that is at once intelligible to the modern mind and faithful to its venerable past. Most importantly, Hauck makes an original contribution of personal anecdotes, exercises, and techniques that ultimately brings the Emerald Tablet to life as a practical guide to spiritual transformation on the cusp of the 21st century." - NAPRA Review (May/June 1999)

"In the Hermetic tradition, the physical and metaphysical worlds are mirror images: the transformation of base metal into gold corresponds to the evolution of an ego-dominated person into one who possesses a permanent state of enlightened consciousness. Hauck's elucidation of the laws governing this refinement of energy, such as the Doctrine of Correspondences, the Seven Steps of Transformation, and the Octave of Creation, will strike a chord with students of modern esoteric traditions (who) may find real gold in these teachings." - Publishers Weekly (March 23, 1999)

"The author has done an immense amount of research to make the Emerald Tablet known and understood to those who seek an alchemical transformation into a higher state of consciousness. I cannot think of anything we need more than these time-tested methods to break through to an age of enlightenment and healing for both ourselves and the planet." - Bernyce Barlow (Author, Ecologist, and Therapist)

"Dennis Hauck's THE EMERALD TABLET is a must read for anyone who wants to journey into the mysteries and mysticism of our dormant powers. Use your own imagination while reading this book, and it will open a gateway to your inner soul and beyond." - Uri Geller (Author and Psychic)

"Hauck is a wonderful writer. His writing style is friendly, easy to read, and actually fun!" - Athena Reviews

"So I picked up this book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy based on the recommendations of Roy at the Emerald Tablet forum. I've gone about 60% of the way through. I really like the book - a lot!  I've always stayed away from the "Dummy" and "Idiot's guides" books, but this time, I decided to try this particular one out. It is really quite good. I've dabbled with the concepts of Alchemy off and on for a few years (Staring from a Golden Dawn perspective).  This book really explains a lot of the basic terms that I probably wasn't clear on... it also has a lot of great references, and links to the Alchemy Guild, and other organizations that are in current existence. The History of Alchemy was something I didn't have a lot of information on, and this book has a lot of details, regarding.  Ultimately I think this is an excellent beginner book and a book to spur someone's interest in the subject. Oh, and I love the Part on Dr. Dee. As I'm a Dee fan,  I had no idea about the Hieroglyphic Monad. I own the book, just never read it!!  Now I will. I follow Dee's work very closely on other matters, so when I read that section it really resonated with me." - Brian Warner on

CAPTAIN QUIRK: An Unauthorized Biography of William Shatner


"This Book Shows Both Sides of this Complicated Man! I think anyone who has read this book from cover to cover will find it to be a moving portrayal of a fascinating man. I'm no Trekker and I do not worship Shatner like a lot of people, but I feel I understand him much better now. The author worked with him and interviewed the entire cast and crew of Star Trek and TJ Hooker. I am not so naive to think that celebrities never realize the politics of show business after their run-ins with fellow actors and deny anything really happened. I heartily recommend this book -- but only for people who don't give a damn about Star Trek and want to read an in-depth and multifaceted biography of a modern icon. After reading this book I have come to see the human side of Shatner and the tragedies and disappointments of his life." (June 4, 1998 -



A screamingly funny unauthorized bio of William Shatner! This is a must for any Star Trek fan. It is a completely unauthorized biography of William Shatner, or "Captain Quirk," as the camera crew called him behind his back. Here are the elements of Shatner's career we've all been hearing about: the arrogance, the humanity, the overacting, the fine acting, the hairpiece. To be fair, William Shatner does not get to tell his side of the story, so this book has to be judged in that light. Yet only an unauthorized bio could have such pithy quotes from George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Jimmy Doohan about Shatner's line-stealing, scene-cutting, and personal abrasiveness. Another advantage of an unauthorized bio is it praises Shatner in ways a personal account might not have. Did you know that for his early stage work, one critic said Shatner would be the next Olivier? And how about that black and white movie in which Shatner spoke only in Esperanto, which stunned the critics? And, as the book points out, some of his Star Trek work is undeniably brilliant. All in all, this is a well-rounded biography, covering Shatner's early work, the Star Trek series, his down-on-his-luck times after the series, the Star Trek movies, and his more recent successes. This is all interwoven with his personal life, making for an interesting, if complicated, portrait." (August 26, 1998 -


WILLIAM SHATNER: The Bio-Bibliography

The Author did his homework! William Shatner is one of the most readily-recognized people in the world. While most people immediately think of him as Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek, few realize that he began his professional acting career at the age of eight and has appeared in Shakespearean festivals, regularly-scheduled radio roles, university and regional playhouses, live television drama, and more than 50 motion pictures. This book provides a short biography and a detailed record of all his performances. Shatner's acting credits range from intense drama to lighthearted comedy, and from biting social commentary to science fiction fantasy. He has written and directed plays, television, and feature films, and is the author of four best-selling novels. This essential reference guide covers every facet of his extraordinary career, including his personal appearances, stage plays, films, television and radio shows, recordings, and literary works. Entries for his work provide cast and credit listings, plot synopses, commentary, and excerpts from reviews. An annotated bibliography lists nearly 1000 references to his life and work. (March, 1996 -


HAUNTED PLACES: The National Directory


"This book is a remarkable resource guide for serious case researchers and anyone interested in visiting unusual places and phenomena."  - NAPRA Review
"Similar works are narrower in scope and less thorough in coverage. Readers interested in the supernatural will enjoy this directory and will read it cover to cover. Buy one for reference and one for the circulating section." - Booklist
"Haunted Places: The National Directory is a book of enormous importance to the study of American folklore. - Academic Library Review
Hauck's book, while piquing my curiosity enough to make me think about buying an RV, also reassures me, because I already know what I might see. For the first time in my life, I can open myself safely to the Other Side."  - Lily Warner in Fate Magazine
"This guide is indispensable to both the serious fortean researcher and the psychic tourist." - Factsheet Five
"Anyone who has had an unusual experience or has witnessed a supernatural occurrence will cherish the detailed descriptions in this book. Also, as you thumb through the listings, some of the sites may trigger a personal experience you may have had and previously forgotten." - Brian Thomas in Magical Blend Magazine


HAUNTED PLACES: The International Directory

This book is a sequel of sorts.  Dennis William Hauck put out an excellent reference guide to ghostly sites around the United States several years ago (HAUNTED PLACES:  THE NATIONAL DIRECTORY, 1996).  His new book, while touching on the US, expands its coverage to the entire world. THE INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORY OF HAUNTED PLACES:  Ghostly Abodes, Sacred Sites, and other Supernatural Locations (New York:  Penguin Books, 2000, $16) provides coverage of haunted locations all over the world.  Each entry gives a summary of the ghost sightings and history, and description of the location as it is today.  While actual addresses for most of the locations are not provided (local phone numbers are provided where available), once one is in the particular town or region, it ought to be fairly simple to track down these sites. Hauck clearly put a lot of work into researching this book.  I know from personal research experience how tough it is to find good reference works about ghost sightings in other countries (other than Great Britain).  There are a lot of entries in this book, and they tend to be brief, though to the point. If you ever travel outside the United States, this book ought to go with you.  If you're thinking about traveling, this book can help you decide on some interesting destinations.  - Loyd Auerbach, FATE Magazine February 2001