Literature recommendations

Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepus in a new English translation, by Copenhaver: A new high-quality translation of the central texts of Hermetic philosophy. More expensive than the out-of-copyright options, but in my opinion utterly worth it. As for the Corpus Hermeticum itself, it is a hard but vital read for anyone interested in Hermetic philosophy.

The Kybalion: An introduction to the basic tenets of Hermetic philosophy. Greatly helps with the understanding for the newcomer, who can then tackle the much more complex Corpus Hermeticum.

The Hermetic Tradition, by Evola: A fairly exhaustive (and exhausting) introduction to western alchemical symbolism. Extremely helpful in the understanding of alchemical texts, but written in Evola's characteristic demanding style. Do not expect to read this fast, and be prepared to feel utterly exhausted when you stop reading. Still, there are not a lot of books that help a beginner into alchemy.

The Alchemical Mandala, by McLean: An alchemical emblemata, filled with instructive paintings and a technique for the contemplation and true internalization. Aimed at increasing your understanding and handling of Hermetic philosophy, and it fully succeeds in that goal.

Twelve Keys of Basilius Valentinus: A volume on the Great Work. Contemplation of it is highly recommended, though unlike the previous volumes, this is an alchemical work in the true old tradition, which means its secrets will not reveal themselves without a very large amount of work.

I shall close this category with a mention of the works of Fulcanelli:
The most recent of the great masters of alchemy, he disappeared after WW2 in his 80s, only to show himself for a short time to one of his students a couple years later, as a young, androgynous creature. He published two works, Le Mystère des Cathédrales (The Mystery of the Cathedrals) and Les Demeures Philosophales (Dwellings of the Philosophers). The reason I do not directly recommned these is that they are quite impenetratable, with the most obvious layer of meaning being not uninteresting, but ultimately useless. To get anything out of these, a gargantuan amount of work is needed, and due to the nature of the ideas of Fulcanelli, I am far from certain the english translation is as helpful as I hope it is. It may well be necessary to read the modern French translation, while also having a high level of fluency in medieval French, Latin, and Greek. I am certain there are great things in these books, but at the same time quite unsure if I (or, indeed, you) will be able to get anything from them.