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The Great Work or Magnum Opus: The Goal of Alchemy

By Catherine Beyer

The ultimate goal of alchemy is a process known as the great work, or the magnum opus in Latin. This involves spiritual transformation, involving the shedding of impurities, the joining of opposites, and the refinement of materials. Exactly what the end result of this profound transformation varies from author to author: self-realization, communion with divinity, fulfillment of purpose, and so forth.

Indeed, part of the transformation may involve better understanding what the end goal even is. After all, it is accepted that few if any alchemists have ever reached their goal. The pursuit of the goal is every bit as important as the goal itself.

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