"It is not the object of these pages to furnish proof to the skeptic of the truth of alchemy, nor to offer arguments so the incredulous may believe in its possibility. To force belief in a thing of which one has no knowledge or experience would be of little real benefit. But those who have had a mystical experience or witnessed the processes of alchemy in their own lives may receive real benefit from working with this material." (Franz Hartmann in Alchemy)
The origins of the discipline of alchemy date back at least as far as ancient Egypt. Most of the alchemical principles known at that time were kept secret from the common people and expressed publicly only in secret writings (hieroglyphics) or in the architecture of sacred buildings. That tradition was carried on during the heyday of alchemy in the Middle Ages in the alchemists' secret ciphers, coded alphabets, as well as in the architecture of cathedrals.
Modern archeologists have proven that the holy temples of Egypt and the cathedrals of the Middle Ages were based on human proportions and designed to symbolically represent man. In fact, the human form embodied in sacred architecture is symbolic of the Perfected Man, the final stage of man's evolution, his ultimate divinization or union with the Divine Mind.
The Great Work of alchemy is to speed up this natural process of perfection and resurrect the spiritual essence of man that has become trapped in matter.
Every human being participates in alchemy, whether in a conscious manner (through the intentional perfection and manifesting of one's higher nature) or through the tumult and suffering of worldly experiences that finally lead to increased spiritual awareness.
"Some have declared that it lies within our choice to gaze continually upon a world of equal or even greater wonder and beauty. It is said by these that the experiments of the alchemists are, in fact, related not to the transmutation of metals, but to the transmutation of the entire universe. This method, or art, or science, or whatever we choose to call it, is simply concerned to restore the delights of the primal paradise; to enable men, if they will, to inhabit a world of joy and splendor. It is perhaps possible that there is such an experiment, and that there are some who have made it."
- Richard Rolle de Hampole, 1380
Alchemy is the study of the transformative processes involved in the perfection or evolution of matter.
These are the same processes we must all go through in order to return to our true home in the Stars.
The Emerald Tablet is the map of our Journey.