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"Briefly speaking, the hypothesis assumed by the alchemists was this: all the metals are compounds, and the baser contain the same elements as gold, contaminated, indeed, with various impurities, but capable, when these have been purged away, of assuming all its properties and characters. The substance which was to effect this purifying process they called the philosopher's stone (lapis philosophorum), though, as a matter of fact, it is always described as a powder—a powder red-coloured, and smelling strongly. Few of the alchemists, however, venture on a distinct statement that they had discovered or possessed this substance.

The arch-quack Paracelsus makes the assertion, of course; unblushing mendacity was part of his stock-in-trade; and he pretends even to define the methods by which it may be realized. Unfortunately, to ordinary mortals his description is absolutely unintelligible. Others there are who affirm that they had seen it, and seen it in operation, transmuting lead, quicksilver, and other of the inferior metals into ruddy gold. One wonders that they did not claim a share in a process which involved such boundless potentialities of wealth!""--Witch, Warlock, and Magician (1889) by William Henry Davenport Adams

"I affirm, as the main thesis of my concluding labours, that Freemasonry is neither more nor less than Rosicrucianism as modified by those who transplanted it into England. At the beginning of the seventeenth century many learned heads in England were occupied with Theosophy, Cabbalism, and Alchemy: amongst the proofs of this [...] above all [the work] of Robert Fludd. Fludd it was, or whosoever was the author of the Summum Bonum, 1629, that must be considered as the immediate father of Free-masonry, as Andrea was its remote father."--"Historico-critical Inquiry into the Origin of the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons" (1824) by Thomas De Quincey

This page Alchemy is part of the mysticism series. Illustration: The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity
This page Alchemy is part of the mysticism series.
Illustration: The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity

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In the history of science, alchemy (Arabic: الخيمياء, al-khimia) refers to both an early form of the investigation of nature and an early philosophical and spiritual discipline, both combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics, mysticism, spiritualism, and art all as parts of one greater force. Alchemy has been practiced in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, and China, in Classical Greece and Rome, in the Muslim civilization, and then in Europe up to the 19th century—in a complex network of schools and philosophical systems spanning at least 2500 years.


See also

Other alchemical pages

Alchemy and psychoanalysis

Other resources

Related and alternative philosophies

Substances of the alchemists

Scientific connections

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