Alchemy - the ancient art and science with the primary purpose of transforming the ordinary human into an enlightened being or immortal. Methods applied are the production of laboratory-made potions as well as inner techniques of energy work. Research into laboratory alchemy has produced metallic transmutations of base metals into noble metals, as well as the production of medicines.
What the bleep happened at the leading edge of science before we had quantum mechanics?
Sir Isaac Newton’s private answer might surprise you: He was investigating alchemy. Night after night in his lab he distilled the toxins that, when properly transformed, were supposed to lead to eternal youth, perfect health and wealth.
Robert Boyle was engaged in the same quest of alchemy as the redeemer of the human condition. A religious quest? Perhaps. A delusion? No. We have positive evidence1 that Robert Boyle succeeded in manufacturing the incalescent mercury, a substance that can be made today as it has been made since time immemorial; the laboratory-made running metal coagulates into pure gold when poured into a heated crucible, as my own duplication of the experiments has shown.
Recent academic discoveries2 show that these founders of our modern sciences were mystics, searching for the Philosopher’s Stone as the central theme of their lives. Did they succeed? No, they died of mercury poisoning.
So what is this alchemy quest about, that some of the brightest minds of all time died pursuing it and others, not-so fortunate either, have lost fortunes investigating it? In this series of articles we shall investigate and uncover the code and hidden meaning of alchemy, the mother of all modern sciences.
Western alchemical traditions
In the West, we can trace alchemy back to ancient Egypt where it was one of the temple sciences. The highest-ranking physicians of Egypt were priests, and people normally came to the temples for healing. There, they were treated with a combination of medicine, religious indoctrination and magic. Medicine meant extracts of herbs or animal organs and alchemical potions that were derived from gemstones, minerals and metals. In the Temple of Dendera, there was a long corridor lined with statues that had healing incantations inscribed on them. Water, poured over the statues, became empowered by the spells. Patients bathed in these magical waters, received their alchemical potions and spent the night in small, totally dark crypts in order to induce a therapeutic dream. The patient was expected to be able to converse directly with the gods to determine his cure. It must have been quite an experience!
Based upon the extended practice of directly conversing with the gods of the Egyptian pantheon, the priest-healers derived their cosmology, their sciences and their healing arts, which have partially survived in what are known today as the Hermetic Books, ascribed to the Egyptian god Thoth, better known by the Greek name Hermes.3 Modern physicians usually credit the Greek Hippocrates with being the father of Western medicine. Hippocrates separated the healing art from the other sciences of the temple in the fifth century B.C. One of the consequences of this separation is the present widespread scientific materialism in our Western culture.4
Hermetic axioms and formulae actually coexisted with the set of Hippocratic doctrines until the Middle Ages, culminating in the spectacularly successful work and subsequent demise of Paracelsus. Since that time, they have been relegated to obscurity. Contemporary allopathic Western medicine, however, does not even come close to performing the miraculous cures of chronic diseases that the Egyptian priest-healers and the medieval alchemists were known for, and which are well documented.5