The science of Alchemy
Alchemy is the name given to ancient chemistry, whose prime aim was to find a substance called’ The philosopher’s Stone’ which was believed to be able to change lead into gold. It was also believed to give immortality. In alchemy, it was believed that the whole universe was made up four primary substances namely air, water, fire and earth. It was also believed that these substances and consequently the whole universe had qualities of being dry, moist, hot and cold. The four primary substances are known as the four elements. It was thought that one substance could be changed into another by changing the proportion of elements in them.
Many people believe that alchemy is as old as the civilisation itself. It gained recorded prominence near 50 A.D. ad remained in distinction till mid 18th century. Many eminent scientists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Pythagoras, were followers of alchemy.
A person named the Count of St. Germain who was first seen in 1710 and last in 1992, 282 years afterwards, was believed to have attained the height or rather the apex of the science of alchemy. This person’s existence is full of mystery. To start with, when he was first seen he was introduced as Count of St. Germain to a young Countess. But throughout his existence, nobody came to know about his real name, age, native country, family background or any other vital details. He was a possessor of unimaginable wealth, though nobody knew about his profession. The Countess who met him in the year 1710 also met him in the late 1750s, but was stunned to see that he did not have any signs of age on his face or body. He did not look even a minute older. The Count claimed that he had attained the powers of immortality and was able to create gold with the help of alchemy. He was always clad in the most expensive clothing and carried diamonds in great numbers instead of money.
He was supposed to have died on 27th February 1784 and was buried. But this was not the last of him. In 1785, a meeting of the co-members of the occult took place in Wilhelmsbad. There St. Germain appeared once again and this uncanny appearance of him was witnessed by many people. It is said that once he was up and alive again, there was no stopping him as he appeared so many times in front of many people to make his presence a well witnessed one. Every time he was seen, there was no sign of age on his face. He looked young as ever. After his reappearance, he was seen in the company of many kings such as the king of Sweden, and also with many members of the occult.
In 1972 a man who claimed to be Count Germain appeared on the national television and did something that nobody had ever done. He made lead turn into gold, which is considered to be the ultimate goal of alchemy. Is it possible that this man was genuinely the Count, who had appeared 188 years after being declared dead? Had he successfully achieved things pertaining to the occult which are beyond the wildest dreams of most of the people? At least the reports indicate he did. The case remains unexplained.
The effects of Alchemy have been vast and profound. As the followings of this tradition continued to grow new branches of science emerged. Robert Boyle, the father of chemistry was an alchemist. He had accomplished extensive work in this field. He gave birth to Paracelsian iatrochemistry or the medical applications of Alchemy. Sir Isaac Newton was also a student of Alchemy and his theory of gravity was deeply effected by this. Alchemy also contributed in many other branches and studies of applied science like:
- ore testing and refining,
- production of gunpowder,
- ink, dyes, paints,
- discovery of many cosmetics,
- leather tanning,
- study of ceramics,
- glass manufacture,
- preparation of extracts,
- process of distillation,
- arrangement of elements according to their properties helped in the formation of the initial periodic tables.
- developing different kinds of liquors etc.
The Emerald Tablet
The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Table, orTabula Smaragdina is an encrypted wisdom text which is said to contain all the necessary and elusive knowledge of the prima materia and its transmutation.
Sir Isaac Newton, being one of the most prominent alchemists translated the tablet. He presented the following points in his translation:
- Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
- That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
- And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
- The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
- The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
- Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
- Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
- It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
- By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
- & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
- Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
- So was the world created?
- From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
- That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.