As far as science goes, before we had chemistry, there was alchemy.
Alchemy was mostly concerned with the transformation of matter from a lesser-valued thing into another higher-valued thing, the philosophy of finding a universal cure for all diseases and understanding how to become immortal.
Back in the day alchemists thought that base metals could somehow be turned into gold or other more valuable metals, which led them to seek after what they called "The Philosopher's Stone". They weren't really looking for a stone or rock, it was just a term used for this magic stuff that would transform or transmute things into what they wanted.
The Philosopher's Stone became a symbol of absolute perfection and enlightenment. (See photo of the symbol above) The symbol for alchemy, which is the circle within a square within a triangle within a larger circle is symbolic of "squaring the circle" which means to do something that is considered impossible.
Using this philosophy, alchemists had a very detailed process to try and find their magic stone and the elixir of life.
Calcination - Turning a substance to ash through heat or fire
Dissolution - Dissolving the remaining ash in water
Separation - Separating and filtering products left from the ash water
Conjunction - The combining of only worthy elements from the separation process into a new substance
Fermentation - The process of fermenting and breaking down the substance further with introduced bacteria and other living organisms
Distillation - The substance is boiled and condensed for purification
Coagulation - The substance is formed into a solid, crystallized state
Is Alchemy Really Spiritual?
The word alchemy was originally used to describe a branch of natural philosophy rather than true science. Magic and mythology were highly drawn upon in the realms of the alchemist but it wasn't until recent times that the word alchemy was bonded with spirituality.
When most people used the term "Spiritual Alchemy" or use the word alchemy when talking about spiritual things, what they are referring to is the process of change a person goes through when they start to awaken and become more conscious.
Spiritual Alchemy is all about taking our traumas, the hardships we've gone through, the things we have suffered, and using them as a catalyst for turning ourselves into something we want. Turning the lead of life into Gold. Spiritual alchemy is the refining and purification of our soul, our spirit, and our eternal nature that is learning about itself and growing in wisdom from experiences.
Many people even use the 7 steps (see bullet list above) of the alchemical process in relation to our spiritual journey that takes us through the dark night of the soul, shadow work, and other less "light" or positive aspects of awakening. Personally, my journey (and the journeys of those I know) has been more of a jump around in these 7 steps so I don't think the metaphoric process is exact. But it is interesting to compare anyway.
All of this is simply a spiritual metaphor that relies heavily on symbolism.
May you be awakened and use your experiences as catalysts to create the life you want and become the being that you know yourself to be. Become the Alchemist of your life.
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Question Of The Day: Which of the 7 steps of alchemy are you going through at this time in your life? Remember, it's just a metaphor and not necessarily in chronological order.