ALCHEMY ARTICLE I
Alchemy is a science.
That sentence up there can be a bit funny, but keep that in mind while you read this article, for this science is linked to Magick, but it's not Magick at all.
It all started on the Alexandrian Era, in Europe, from Egypt, China and India. The overall goal of this science was to make sense of the nature of matter. Today, that way of studying is not considered as a science by Chemists and Physicians: it is considered as a root. A root of a great tree, called Knowledge.
Aristotle promoted the idea that there are four principle elements of matter: air,fire, earth, and water. He claimed that all physical matter is composed of these elements in varying amounts. Just like colours made out of red, yellow and blue.
However, we can assume that there are far more elements than simply four. For example, there is one very well known as "Quintessence". Some people believe this element is Magick, some other, Light. An increasing amount believes it is Love.
For what I have experienced through my life, I believe the Quintessence is just, the Unknown. Think about it! If there are groups of people all converging into different theories, the Quintessence seems to be unknown: there it is, the Unknown.
Much later, the Swiss physician, Paracelsus (1493-1541), added a third element to the theoretical composition of metal: salt. It should be stressed that these three elements -mercury, sulphur, and salt- were different from the ordinary substances of the same names.
Because metals were all composed of the same elements, it was thought possible to transform one type of metal into another by altering the relative amounts of constituent elements.
Know, I certainly know some of you are thinking, "And what about the Philosopher's stone?". Well, this stone -the Holy Grail among us Alchemists- not only could transform lead into gold, but it could also act as a powerful medicine. Infused for this purpose, it was called the elixir vitae or elixir of life. In addition to curing any disease, the elixir vitae could supposedly increase a person's lifespan, potentially conferring immortality. The trick was to find the philosopher's stone, which, despite its name, was supposed to have been created by an Alchemist, called Nicolas Flamel (1330-1418). This stone was never found, and it is believed that it was buried with Flamel's body. Nevertheless, there are some Alchemists pursuing the experiment to duplicate it.
For a time, the terms chemistry and alchemy were used interchangeably. As a result, some of the biggest names in chemistry from the medieval and Renaissance periods were also associated with alchemy. Paracelsus, who was mentioned previously, brought alchemy into the medical arena with his theory that chemical cures were effective against disease. Robert Boyle, considered the father of chemistry, was involved in alchemy from 1646 until the end of his life. His influential book, The Skeptical Chymist (1661), defined the differences between chemistry and alchemy and introduced the concept of element known today.
Remember that phrase at the beginning of this article?
Alchemy is a science. No matter what the Hermetic principles dictates, alchemy was, is and will keep being a science, for us Alchemists and Magick practitioners.
If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful branch/type/path of Magick, feel free to leave a reply below to let me know if you liked it.