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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Homunculus

DEFINITIONS

Homunculus: (Latin, “little human”) In alchemy, a miniature but living human being created artificially by alchemical means. Recipes for creating a homunculus usually involved placing semen, alone or with other substances, in an alchemical vessel, which was kept at very mild heat for forty days. At the end of this time a small, half-transparent human shape could be observed. The alchemist was then instructed to feed it each day with the Arcanum (an alchemical preparation) of human blood, keeping it at the same low heat, for forty weeks. At the end of this time it would have matured into a miniature human child, which could then be taken out of the vessel and raised like any other child.

The traditions concerning the homunculus are probably related to those of the golem, the artificial human whose construction is discussed in Jewish folklore and Cabalistic magical texts.
source:

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