What is Alchemy?
Alchemy is often considered a precursor to modern chemistry, focusing on both the transformation of base metals into noble metals like gold and the quest for the elixir of life, a substance that would grant immortality.
The earliest records of alchemical practices date back to ancient civilisations such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and India. Here are a few notable figures from these cultures who are often associated with early alchemical practices:
The ancient Egyptians practiced metallurgy and had a deep interest in the properties of various substances. The legendary figure Hermes Trismegistus is often attributed with authoring a collection of texts known as the “Hermetic Corpus,” which contained ideas related to spiritual alchemy, astrology, and mystical philosophy.
Alchemical practices in China have a long history, dating back to around 200 BCE. Taoist alchemists sought to attain immortality and believed in the transmutation of substances. The search for the elixir of life and the philosopher’s stone was a central focus of Chinese alchemy.
In India, alchemical ideas were closely tied to spiritual and philosophical traditions. The concept of Rasayana, which involved the use of substances to enhance one’s health and longevity, is often associated with early Indian alchemical practices.
The Hellenistic period saw the exchange of ideas between different cultures, which contributed to the development of alchemy. Figures like Zosimos of Panopolis, who lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, wrote extensively on alchemical topics, describing processes involving metals and spiritual transformation.
It’s important to note that alchemy was not a unified or consistent practice across these cultures. Different regions had their own beliefs, methodologies, and goals related to alchemy. Over time, alchemy evolved and absorbed ideas from various sources, eventually giving rise to the more systematic and scientific approach of modern chemistry.
The transition from alchemy to chemistry occurred during the Scientific Revolution, around the 17th century, when empirical methods and a focus on observation and experimentation began to replace the mystical and speculative aspects of alchemy.
So what are the 7 Steps of Alchemy? Here is a VERY brief outline.
Step 1 – CALCINATION
Saturn Planet | Fire Element | Metal Lead
Calcination is to release the heavy dense matter of self sabotage behaviour, the conscious aspect of self.
Step 2 – DISSOLUTION
Jupiter Planet | Water Element | Metal Tin
Dissolution is to delve into the subconscious part of the mind (shadow work) and release past traumas and habits.
Step 3 – SEPARATION
Planet Mars / Element Air / Metal Iron
Separation is the filtering through the energy of water to clear and find your essence, your more authentic self and letting go of self restraints.
Step 4 – CONJUNCTION
Planet Venus / Element Earth / Metal Copper
Conjunction is creating a space to accept all parts of our authentic self and re-accumulation of the first 3 steps.
Step 5 – FERMENTATION
Planet Mercury / Metal Quick Silver
Fermentation is rebirth and a refined version of the self, connection to higher self. Ability too manifest and mystical union occurs. This is where most stop doing the work.
Step 6 – DISTILLATION
Planet Moon / Metal Silver
Distillation is making peace with yourself and the mundane things in life. Selfless action to work with the higher self.
Step 7 – COAGULATION
Planet Sun / Metal Gold
Coagulation is the completion and creation of the Philosophers Stone. It is the new self coming together to create a solid light formed body.
*Please note this description of steps is formed from my own study and understanding and may differ from other meanings.