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Gold and Alchemical Healing

By Chic Cicero

The science of alchemy is first and foremost a spiritual process of transformation and purification. However, there are two types of alchemy that often overlap. Practical alchemy, also called laboratory alchemy, is concerned with transforming a base material into a higher and more purified substance, such as the turning of a base metal into gold, or the extraction of a medicinal substance from a plant in order to create a healing elixir. Spiritual alchemy, which is also called theoretical alchemy or inner alchemy, is concerned with the transformation of the human soul from a state of baseness to one of spiritual enlightenment.

The classical texts of alchemy are rich in symbolism and allegory. Some of these treatises contained little more than alchemical prints and illustrations. Alchemical works that contained numerous illustrations were far less concerned with the practical aspects of laboratory alchemy than with the esoteric knowledge of spiritual alchemy and the sublimation of the human soul. These books would become the illustrated textbooks of the Rosicrucian movement in the seventeenth century.

Contemplation of alchemical diagrams and pictorial symbolism is meant to intrigue and inspire the viewer on many levels—conscious as well as subconscious—and speak directly to the human soul on the true nature of the alchemist’s “gold.”

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