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The Chemistry of Alchemy

From Dragon’s Blood to Donkey Dung, How Chemistry Was Forged

Reviewed by Caroline Robertson

Most students of alchemy, even those that read the mineral texts, will ultimately pursue the path of spiritual or ‘soul’ alchemy through meditation and breathing and suchlike. Some brave alchemists will seek to help the spiritual process by taking alchemical draughts and will buy distillation equipment and venture into spagyrics or plant alchemy (for example HERE) to prepare tinctures and plant ‘stones’ from herbs with a planetary or medicinal reputation. Only the very few (maybe only a couple of thousand worldwide) will make the step into mineral alchemy.

And that is what this book is about: not philosophy, nor metaphysics, nor even plant extracts. It asks us to look, in a very practical way, at the physical chemistry of the alchemists through the ages.

The authors of this book candidly tell us they are not experts on alchemy nor historians and they have relied heavily on already published material, and that their choice of (some Arabic but mostly European) alchemists to fit within their fairly random chronology was influenced a lot by the exoticness of their lives and stories.

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