C III to XVIII centuries.in the East and the West maintained a great interest in alchemy.Someone wanted to find the Philosopher's Stone, through which it was possible to turn base metals into precious metals like gold.Others saw in alchemical processes, only the characters of the human spirit, and sought immortality, enlightenment, often - a magical omnipotence.
in Egypt Alexandria alchemy was our mystical teaching about the possibility of converting all substances into each other.Particularly interested in the Egyptian alchemists metals, attributing the seven major metals in communication with one of the seven known planets at that time.Communication with astrology alchemy quickly turned into a kind of ritual magic.
Arabs inherited the interest of the Egyptians to metals, but they are not particularly interested in mysticism.Their main achievement was the doctrine that all metals are composed of sulfur and mercury, marked by Arab thinkers as the "father" and "mother."Later, in the European "spiritual" alchemy, this motif was developed in the whole scheme of "sexual" relationship between the various substances and elements.
alchemy originated in Europe in the XII century.and since its inception began to be persecuted by the church.Nevertheless, many of the great alchemists such as Albert the Great (1193-1280) and Roger Bacon (1214-1292), were themselves monks.
The European alchemy emphasis on magical means, without which it was impossible to achieve the correct result.Not only was calculated by horoscopes and auspicious days to cast spells: most alchemists were convinced that if flasks and retorts are not placed magical inscriptions Chaldean, Arabic or Hebrew languages, it is useless to expect success.
It is here, from the secret, vague correspondence between hiding from the Inquisition adepts of secret knowledge, there was a rich alchemical symbolism, all these "alchemical marriage," "birth of the red lion" and so on.Later, these symbols came into use large quantities of secret societies, Masons and the Rosicrucians.
And the task of the European alchemy set itself a much more diverse: the creation of a human being in a retort (homunculus), the melting of a special "liquid gold" (generic drugs).Incidentally, one of the most famous alchemists, Paracelsus believed that the purpose of alchemy is to develop drugs.
In the XVII century alchemy completely alloy with Kabbalah, and has lost all contact with chemical experiments, soon becoming the highest form of spiritual magic, in which various substances have become symbols of the mystical processes and entities.
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