What is alchemy?

We explain what alchemy is and the appearance of this proto-science in the artistic field. Also, what are the philosopher’s stones.

  1. What is alchemy?

Alchemy is a creation of esotericism. This is linked to the transmutation of matter . The practice of alchemy was extremely important to develop the original chemistry , while the alchemists were in search of the philosopher’s stone to achieve the transformation of any metal into gold.

Alchemy is a creation of the many that esotericism poses . It is directly related to the transmutation of matter . The development and practice of alchemy were extremely important and fundamental when it came to the development of chemistry, while the alchemists focused on the search for the precious philosopher’s stone to achieve the transformation of any metal into gold and eternal life. .

The term alchemy found its etymological origin in the Greek. This is determined from the word chemia,  whose meaning refers to the “mixture of liquids.” It is from this Greek word that the origin of the term alchemy arises as we know it today. This word was established by the Arabs, who were responsible for creating the word alkimya.

Alchemy is determined within proto-sciences , being a discipline that develops within philosophy and which, in turn, includes traces of chemistry, physics , astrology, metallurgy, spiritualism and art. For about 2,500 years in the history of mankind, schools specializing in alchemy were very popular and important. The regions where this happened were Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, China, India, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.

  1. Alchemy in art

Alchemy - Philosopher's Stone
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone they talk about alchemy and the desired philosopher’s stone.

The magic and mystery that surround alchemy and that relentless pursuit of the wonderful stone capable of converting any metal into gold, has been a source of inspiration for many authors who today have the pleasure of knowing. For example, one of the titles best known to all is that of Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho, who titled his work as “The Alchemist.” It tells the story of a young Spanish shepherd whom Santiago called, who goes out in search of a thousand adventures in order to reach his chimera.

What the author seeks with this book is to let us know that the idea of life is to fight for everything we want to achieve, including our most impossible dreams. It seeks to highlight that fate acts in a mysterious way, but still its purpose is to help us reach our goal and make our goals come true . Finally, he teaches us and we understand that a sad characteristic of the human being is that he cannot value what he has until he loses it.

However, the work of this Brazilian author is not the only one who talks about alchemy and its much desired philosopher’s stone. Between literature and cinema we can find several titles of stories that talk about alchemy and its much desired philosopher’s stone, as is the first film in the award-winning saga of children’s films created by J.K.Rowling. This movie is titled: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone . ” The story shows how Harry Potter tries to stop the desperate search for his eternal enemy Voldemort (or “the one who should not be named”). This villain wishes to obtain the philosopher’s stone, since he ensures that with his mysterious power and extraordinary properties, he will be able to increase his strength and become invincible.

In addition to these outstanding titles of classical literature and the cinematographic field of recent years, we can highlight other titles based on alchemy, such as: “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare ; “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley; “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, by Gabriel García Márquez and “The Pendulum of Foucault”, by Umberto Eco, among an infinity of works related to the subject.

  1. The philosopher’s stones

Although alchemy has adopted different forms and currents over the years, it is finely related, at present, to the search for the way that allows the transformation of any type of element in the valuable gold and, also, to the need for Achieve eternal life .

Now, introducing ourselves more to the real beliefs of alchemy, we can determine that all those called alchemists supported the existence of two kinds of philosopher’s stones: the red philosopher’s stone and the white philosopher’s stone .

The red philosopher’s stone was believed to be capable of transforming all those metals called ignoble into gold. While, on the other hand, the white philosopher’s stone achieved the transformation of these same elements, any of them, into silver.

On the other hand and without going any further, the transformation of ignoble metals is not the only virtue of the beloved and much desired philosopher’s stone, but that it is intimately linked to the elixir of life. This substance had the gift of being able to cure any person of any disease and, in addition, to enable eternal life. However, the absence of this substance or the inability to find it, helped several of the alchemists, including Paracelsus, get very important advances in the field of pharmaceuticals.

Importantly, the fact of wanting to transmute lead into gold is not scientifically far fetched. To make this possible, we should extract three of the 82 protons that a lead atom possesses and thus get a gold atom (which has 79 protons). But, in practice, energy projections lead to the idea of ​​making this transformation impossible.

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