Keep rosemary by your garden gate
Plant lavender for luck
Fall in love whenever you can.
As is Above, So is Below
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.
A single manuscript of some 80,000 words is the principal source for the history of Greek alchemy.
Chinese alchemy is largely recorded in about 100 "books" that are part of the Taoist canon.
Nor is it really clear what alchemy was (or is).
The word is a European one, derived from Arabic,
but the origin of the root word, chem, is uncertain.
Words similar to it have been found in most ancient languages,
with different meanings, but conceivably somehow related to alchemy.
In fact, the Greeks, Chinese, and Indians usually referred to what Westerners
call alchemy as "The Art," or by terms denoting change or transmutation.
"Transmutation" is the key word characterizing alchemy,
and it may be understood in several ways: in the changes that are called chemical,
in physiological changes such as passing from sickness to health,
in a hoped-for transformation from old age to youth,
or even in passing from an earthly to a supernatural existence.
Alchemical changes seem always to have been positive,
never involving degradation except as an intermediate stage
in a process having a "happy ending."
Alchemy aimed at the great human "goods":
wealth, longevity, and immortality.