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Friday, June 8, 2007

The Ancient Art of Alchemy

Most balk at Alchemy, though they know nothing about it. The truth is that Alchemy and its practitioners -- the Alchemists, Witches, and Wizards of their day -- were the very forefathers of modern-day scientists, doctors, pharmacists, and more. They were persecuted mercilessly by the emerging medical practitioners, mostly under the auspices of the Catholic Church.

While Alchemy was, at its basest, the search for transmuting lead into gold, this was only the most physical aspect of the art (and the ultimate prize); Alchemists claimed that its study brought forth interior changes -- psychical changes within the Alchemist himself which transformed the "lead" of his everyday life into spiritual "gold."

One of the most famous recent alchemists was none other than Israel Regardie himself, author of the now infamous Golden Dawn (whose publication got him thrown out of the circle and scorned by his peers and one-time colleagues), though he admitted he never actually completed any great Transmutation through the practice.

One of the most authoritative documents claiming to have succeeded in Alchemy is almost certainly a fraud. Attributed to one Nicholas Flamel, it first appeared in 1612. A very rich man who had made public his interest in Alchemy (1130-1417), Flamel was a scrivener, a preparer of legal documents, and the date of his supposed breakthrough given in this Alchemical autobiography was Monday, January 17th, 1382. But the 17th of January, 1382 was not a Monday -- an easy mistake for anyone else, but not a likely one for a scrivener.

We'll delve much further into the Art of Alchemy as the weeks go on.

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