Alchemy Essay Research Paper The science by — страница 2

  • Просмотров 617
  • Скачиваний 12
  • Размер файла 21

science fell into desuetude and disrepute, owing chiefly to the number of charlatans practicing it, and by the beginning of the eighteenth century, as a school, it may be said to have become defunct. Here and there, however, a solitary student of the art lingered, and in the department of this article “Modern Alchemy” will demonstrate that the science has to a grate extent revived during modern times, although it has never been quite extinct.THE QUESTS OF ALCHEMY: The grand objects of alchemy were (1) the discovery of a process by which the baser metals might be transmuted into gold or silver; (2) the discovery of an elixir by which life might be prolonged indefinitely; and there may be added (3), the manufacture of and artificial process of human life. (for the latter see

Homunculus)THE THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF ALCHEMY: The first objects were to be achieved as follows: The transmutation of metals was to be accomplished by a powder, stone or exilir often called the Philosopher’s Stone, the application of which would effect the transmutation of the baser metals into gold or silver, depending upon the length of time of its application. Basing their conclusions on a profound examination of natural processes and research into the secrets of nature, the alchemists arrived at the axiom that nature was divided philosophically into four principal regions, the dry, the moist, the warm, the cold, whence all that exists must be derived. Nature is also divisible into the male and the female. She is the divine breath, the central fire, invisible yet ever

active, and is typified by sulphur, which is the mercury of the sages, which slowly fructifies under the genial warmth of nature. The alchemist must be ingenuous, of a truthful disposition, and gifted with patience and prudence, following nature in every alchemical performance. He must recollect that like draws to like, and must know how to obtain the seed of metals, which is produced by the four elements through the will of the Supreme Being and the Imagination of Nature. We are told the the original matter of metals is double in its essence, being a dry heat combined with a warm moisture, and that air is water coagulated by fir, capable of producing a universal dissolvent. These terms the neophyte must be cautious of interpreting in their literal sense. Great confusion exists

in alchemical nomenclature, and the gibberish employed by the scores of charlatans who in later times pretended to a knowledge of alchemical matters did not tend to make things any more clear. The beginner must also acquire a thorough knowledge of the manner in which metals grow in the bowels of the earth. These are engendered by sulphur, which is male, and mercury, which is female, and the crux of alchemy is to obtain their seed – a process which the alchemist philosophers have not described with any degree of clarity.The physical theory of transmutation is based on the composite character of metals, and on the existence of a substance which, applied to matter, exalts and perfects it. This, Eugenius Philalethes and others call ‘The Light’. The elements of all metals is

similar, differing only in purity and proportion. The entire trend of the metallic kingdom is towards the natural manufacture of gold, and the production of the baser metals is only accidental as the result of an unfavorable environment. The Philosopher’s Stone is the combination of the male and female seeds which beget gold. The composition of these is so veiled by symbolism as to make their identification a matter of impossibility. Waite, summarizing the alchemical process once the secret of the stone is unveiled, says: “Given the matter of the stone and also the necessary vessel, the process which must be then undertaken to accomplish the ‘magnum opus’ are described with moderate perpicuity. There is the calcination or purgation of the stone, in which kind is worked

with kind for the space of a philosophical year. There is dissolution which prepares the way for congelation, and which is performed during the black state of the mysterious matter. It is accomplished by water which does not wet the hand. There is the separation of the subtle and the gross, which is to be performed by means of heat. In the conjunction which follows, the elements are duly and scrupulously combined. Putrefaction afterwards takes place.’Without which pole no seed may multiply.’”Then, in the subsequent congelation the white colour appears, which is one of the signs of success. It becomes more pronounced in cibation. In sublimation the body is spiritualised, the spirit made corporeal, and again a more glittering whiteness is apparent. Fermentation afterwards