In this post industrial, post modern world the symbolism of alchemy is very strange indeed.

Practised as far afield as China it was the Arabs who were perhaps responsible for the two great flowerings in western history. The first in the early centuries of the Chritian era and the second during the renaissance when some four thousand books appeared on the subject. Quite apart from the many had written manuscripts which passed down from master to disciple, many of which still exist in libraries around the world.

Essentially Alchemy is a multifaceted subject which traditionally lent it self to many levels of exploration. On the one hand it was an early form of chemical technology exploring the nature of substances. While at the same time being a  a philosophy of the cosmos describing mankind's place in the scheme of things complete with pathways to transcend it.  In common with astrology Alchemy became a complex  symbolic language,  a living metaphor through which to explore the world.   It had a strong philosophical basis, and many alchemists incorporated religious metaphor and  rigorous spiritual training was a prerequisite for mastery of many alchemical ideas.


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