Alchemy is the magickal study of transforming substances by utilizing science. Although the term is surrounded with mystery, its true origin is said to have originated with the Greeks, who believed that all matter was derived from the four elements; Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Many Jews in the 4th century were among the most influential scholars and practitioners of alchemy. In fact, as a result of their discoveries combined with the application of religion and prayer, it was broadly accepted that true alchemy was not only an understanding of science, but was believed to be a “gift from God.”
Alchemy was not simply a hobby, but a respected occupation in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. Most professionals had an entire laboratory apportioned within their home. The laboratory appeared similar to a full-scale college chemistry lab, complete with glass beakers, test tubes, and an immeasurable amount of compounds that were gaseous, solid and liquid.
The main objective of the alchemists was the transformation of base metals into silver or gold utilizing chemistry and knowledge of the scientific method. The endless search to identify a substance that would create such a transformation was known as “The Philosopher’s Stone.” It was also believed that there was a formula known as “The Elixir of Life,” which upon ingestion would cure all illness and offer everlasting life. Today, the search for the Philosopher’s Stone still exists and many scholars believe that the answer will soon be discovered within the field of quantum physics, a branch of study that suggests all matter is comprised of particles that posses the same type of energy.
In addition to the alchemist’s primary objectives mentioned above, there were also lesser goals which students experimented with in an attempt to master chemical relationships, such as; restoring a plant from its ashes, finding a universal solvent, and discovering a substance that could dissolve gold.
You can become familiar with a few simple alchemical techniques without having to purchase a professional chemistry set. The following are some exercises founded on the basic principles of alchemy, and as a beginning student, most of the items can be found within your kitchen.
Mix ½ cup of vinegar and ½ tsp. Salt in a jar. Add 10 pennies and leave them there until they appear very shinny and clean. Remove the pennies, and save the liquid mixture. Now place 1 iron nail into the mixture (previously cleaned with steel wool or a light scuff with sand paper) and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. The nail will soon be covered with a copper coating.
The next time you are out star-gazing, or snuggling up in a dark room, place a few Wintergreen Life Savers into you mouth and crunch away! The Life Savers contain methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen) which when crushed with sugar crystals makes a dramatic display of sparks inside a dark mouth.
Soak a raw egg in vinegar for a 24 hour period. At the end of that time, the shell will have transformed into an opaque rubbery material… Don’t bounce it too hard, though!
Over a flame, sprinkle some Iodine to create red/green hues of flame and colored smoke.
To create “invisible writing,” use an acidic juice, either lemon juice, vinegar, or onion juice. Dip a quill pen into the solution, or dip a Q-tip into the solution and write your magickal message on a piece of white paper. When it dries, the writing will become invisible. To make it reappear, heat the paper with a hair dryer and watch the writing as it begins to unveil the secret message. This technique has been used by spies as well as conjurers for centuries.
Alchemy teaches that everything in nature is alive and contains a “divine spark” or divine force known as the “breath.” Metals are believed to be “alive” and therefore possess the desire to transform into something at a higher state. Similar are our divine souls, constantly transforming as we adapt to our surroundings in an attempt to evolve to a higher level.
Alchemy is said to be the art of manipulating life and the consciousness of matter.
The secret teachings of alchemy focus on spiritual regeneration and perfection of the human spirit through science. So for those seeking spiritual “proof,” alchemy is a path of study that offers union with the divine through science.
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