I am happy to see that my thread finally got some momentum.
I collected and read many books on Alchemy written from different perspectives, including secondary as well as primary literature. However, it is very difficult to arrive at a coherent picture, especially as far as the practical art is concerned, safe for some introductory works into 'Vegetable Alchemy'. Of course, Alchemy has always been notorious for its obscurity and lack of a terminology and symbolism common to most practitioners. Some scholarly efforts have been made by contemporary academics like Lawrence M. Principe and William R. Newman to figure out what the Alchemists of yore were actually doing in their laboratories. While some of their conclusions are illuminating, they still provide only a rather fragmented view, at best. Even how and with what material to start the Great Work is far from unambiguous.
However, as far as I figured out so far, there are two major methods employed by a substantial number of advanced practitioners:
The Wet Path
This starts with manufacturing a somewhat elusive Spirit of Wine and a preparation of lead acetate. The principal text is Johann Seger Weidenfeld's "The Secret of the Adepts". In modern times, it was attempted by Alexander von Bernus.
The Dry Path
This starts with manufacturing a star regulus of metallic Antimony. It is also called the Flamel way and was followed by such famous Alchemists as Eirenaeus Philalethes and Sir Isaac Newton.
The details of the practice of either path still elude me, however. If you have anything to share on them, I invite your comments. Alternatively, feel free to PM me.
Sooo, you've read many books but couldn't grasp it.
You also read books, written by guys who themselve where no Alchemists. Sorta like "Alchemy for Dummies by Dummies" ?
"However, as far as I figured out so far, there are two major methods employed by a substantial number of advanced practitioners:"
You are neither! It looks like you're looking for a recipe on how to make the stone in simple terms.
Doesn't work that way, you have to do practical fundamental training and not advanced (metallic) work.
If you take the available literature you can categorize them roughly:
Philosophical and Theoretic - Full of Allegories and Symbols, if you are an Adept everything will be clear, as a beginner reading them is like sowing seeds. Do it long and often and maybe something will grow. If you think you understood something you need to test it, only Knowledge + Experience will show you the way.
Old Practical Books: These are often simple recipebooks, but if you don't know ho to cook how would you prepare a meal ? and what makes you think you can cook a 5 Star 4 course menu ?
New Practical Books: These are mostly about Spagyrics and enough Theory is embedded to give you everything you need.
Doing metallic work without sound knowledge is like giving an untrained person a Desert Eagle .50 Cal.
I hope you understand what i tried to tell you.