Alchemy is a study of the basic elements called fire, water, earth and air. It is the study of transmutation. It was first studied to learn how to change lead into gold. It is similar to chemistry, but much older. People who studied alchemy were called alchemists.

Alchemists in the Middle Ages often tried to make gold using things that were not gold. They also tried to make the Elixir of Life (which would give the gift of immortality). Many times alchemists would use stories and legends to try to veil (cover up) how to make gold.

The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was interested in this as well but in relation to the soul of man. Alchemists are objective (they deal with external existence) while psychologists are subjective (they deal with the inner life of man).

Alchemists deal with the First Matter (a substance that makes transmutation easy) while Psychology deals with the mind.

A famous saying in Alchemy: “As above, so below” veils the relationship existing between Alchemy and Psychology.

Alchemy is not a science any more. Some things that the alchemists learned about were important for other sciences, like chemistry.

In 1980, an American scientist named Glenn Seaborg actually changed a very tiny amount of bismuth into gold with a nuclear reactor. But it cost much more to transform the energy to do this than the tiny amount of gold was worth. This is the closest a scientist has come to discover the Philosopher’s Stone of the ancient Alchemists. The Philosopher’s Stone is the means (way) Alchemists use to achieve (to succeed in) transmutation.

Alchemy was an important science because it helped create many other sciences that came after it, for example, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and astronomy.

Alchemists not only tried to create gold but they also looked for self-purification (to separate the pure from the impure with great care) and enlightenment.

Alchemy Library - Books

You may be also interested in :

The Jewish Alchemists: A History and Source Book – Raphael Patai
Herbs in Magic and Alchemy: Techniques from Ancient Herbal Lore - C. L. Zalewski
Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy – Robert Allen Bartlett
Dictionary of Occult, Hermetic and Alchemical Sigils – Fred Gettings
Alchemy – Eric John Holmyard
The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structures of Alchemy -  Mircea Eliade
Alchemy Unveiled - Johannes Helmond
Arthur Edward Waite – The Secret Tradition in Alchemy: Its Development and Records
Inner Alchemy: Energy Work and the Magic of the Body - Taylor Ellwood
Mystical Alchemy The Path to Enlightenment - Jacques Tombazian
The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy: An Herbalist's Guide to Preparing Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs - Manfred M. Junius
The Turba Philosophorum - Arthur Edward Waite
Magic and Alchemy - Robert Michael Place
The Tower of Alchemy: An Advanced Guide to the Great Work -  David Goddard
Collectanea Chemica: On Alchemy and Hermetic Medicine –  Arthur Edward Waite