Alchemy is the ancient art of changing base metals into gold or silver. In the medieval era, alchemists also believed in the Philosopher’s Stone, an elixir that could cure all illnesses and make people live forever.
An old legend tells how, centuries ago, an alchemist was bending over a boiling pot filled with a strange mixture from which he hoped to make gold. When he looked up, he saw the Devil at the window. He rushed out, grabbed the Devil by his tail and pulled it off. When he threw the tail into the magic pot, the mixture turned into gold.
Egyptian priests knew how to get pure gold from the earth. They also knew how to make glass, soap, dyes, stains, drugs and poisons, and could perform many other feats. The Moors who conquered Spain brought alchemy to Europe. An Englishman translated the old Arabic writings that contained all the knowledge of the Egyptian and Greek alchemists.
Alchemists were terrified of having their secrets stolen by rival alchemists, or by the ruler of the land in which they lived–all rulers are permanently short of ready cash. In order to protect their secrets, they used codes and symbols to disguise their ingredients and methods from the casual reader, thief or spy.
Famous alchemists include Isaac Newton and John Dee. “I believe in the elemental truth of all great religions of the world. I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” stated Mohandas K. Gandhi. THE END