Philosopher’s stone is a legendary substance in alchemy which is believed to have capabilities that can turn common base metals like mercury into rare and expensive ones such as gold and silver.
According to the belief, the substance, which was also known as the elixir of life or used to create the elixir, had rejuvenating powers and could be used to become immortal.
Creating the stone was the ultimate goal in alchemy. Many alchemists and even famous scientists like Isaac Newton made great efforts to discover the recipe for it.
The philosopher’s stone represents enlightenment, heavenly bliss and perfection in alchemy.
The symbol is comprised of a circle inside a square surrounded by a triangle inside another circle.
In the second decade of the twenty-first century, alchemy is not only about the transmutation of metals, but the shift in consciousness that returns us from the physical to the non-physical.
Throughout its history, alchemy has shown a dual nature. On the one hand, it has involved the use of chemical substances and so is claimed by the history of science as the precursor of modern chemistry. Yet at the same time, alchemy has, throughout its history, also been associated with the esoteric, spiritual beliefs of Hermeticismand thus is a proper subject for the historian of religious thought. Such an approach is complemented by the psychological studies of Carl Jung, which correlate alchemical symbolism with the development of the psycho-religious life of the individual.
Alchemy was practiced in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Japan, Korea and China, in Classical Greece and Rome, in the Muslim civilizations, and then in Europe up to the 19th century in a complex network of schools and philosophical systems spanning at least 2,500 years.
In the history of science, alchemy refers to both an early form of the investigation of nature and an early philosophical and spiritual discipline, both combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics, mysticism, spiritualism, and art all as parts of one greater force.
Alchemy is an ancient path of spiritual purification and transformation; the expansion of consciousness and the development of insight and intuition through images. Alchemy is steeped in mysticism and mystery. It presents to the initiate a system of eternal, dreamlike, esoteric symbols that have the power to alter consciousness and connect the human soul to the Divine.
It is part of the mystical and mystery traditions of both East and West. In the West, it dates to ancient Egypt, where adepts first developed it as an early form of chemistry and metallurgy. Egyptians alchemists used their art to make alloys, dyes, perfumes and cosmetic jewelry, and to embalm the dead.
The early Arabs made significant contributions to alchemy, such as by emphasizing the mysticism of numbers (quantities and lengths of time for processes). The Arabs also gave us the term ‘alchemy’, from the Arabic term ‘alchimia’, which loosely translated means ‘the Egyptian art’.
During medieval and Renaissance times, alchemy spread through the Western world, and was further developed by Kabbalists, Rosicrucians, astrologers and other occultists. It functioned on two levels: mundane and spiritual. On a mundane level, alchemists sought to find a physical process to convert base metals such as lead into gold. On a spiritual level, alchemists worked to purify themselves by eliminating the “base” material of the self and achieving the ‘gold’ of enlightenment.
By Renaissance times, many alchemists believed that the spiritual purification was necessary in order to achieve the mundane transformations of metals.
The alchemists relied heavily upon their dreams, inspirations and visions for guidance in perfecting their art. In order to protect their secrets, they recorded diaries filled with mysterious symbols rather than text. These symbols remain exceptionally potent for changing states of consciousness.
Alchemy is a form of speculative thought that, among other aims, tried to transform base metals such as lead or copper into silver or gold and to discover a cure for disease and a way of extending life.
Alchemy was the name given in Latin Europe in the 12th century to an aspect of thought that corresponds to astrology, which is apparently an older tradition. Both represent attempts to discover the relationship of man to the cosmos and to exploit that relationship to his benefit. The first of these objectives may be called scientific, the second technological.
Astrology is concerned with man’s relationship to “the stars” (including the members of the solar system); alchemy, with terrestrial nature. But the distinction is far from absolute, since both are interested in the influence of the stars on terrestrial events. Moreover, both have always been pursued in the belief that the processes human beings witness in heaven and on earth manifest the will of the universe and, if correctly understood, will yield the key to the universes intentions.
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