Israel Regardie: The Philosophers Stone
Modem scholarship still leaves unsolved the question as to whether alchemical treatises should be classified as mystical, magical, or simply primitively chemical. The most reasonable view is not to place them exclusively in any one category, but to assume that all these objects at one time formed in varying proportions the preoccupation of different alchemists.
Or, better still, that different alchemists became attracted to different interpretations or levels of the art. There is no doubt that by some writers alchemy was interpreted in a categorical and literal sense – that is, as a chemical means whereby the baser metals could be transformed and made precious.
There is a vast body of testimony to this end, evidence which cannot be made to yield any interpretation other than a physical and chemical one. On the other hand, there are certain alchemistical philosophers to whom it would be impossible to impute any other interest than a mystical or religious one.
Alchemy is also called Hermeticism. Hermes, from the mythological standpoint, is the Egyptian god both of Wisdom and Magic – which concepts include therapeutics and physical science as then it was known.
All these subjects may, therefore, claim just inclusion within the scope of the significance of the terms Alchemy and Hermetic subjects.
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