Before science really got going, curious minds tried to convert substances into other substances by trial and error and a whole lot of wishful thinking. Attempts were made to create an elixir of immortality (science is still working on that), a panacea that would cure any disease, and the well-known turning-lead-into gold conundrum. An associated philosophy grew up around these practices: alchemy. An alchemist’s lab looked similar to a chemistry lab, and he would boil and burn and crush and mix things as chemists do, but nobody knew about atoms yet so it was all a bit hit-and-miss.
Like dowsing and ghost-hunting, alchemy still fascinates a lot of people, so it’s not surprising that there’s a course for it. A whole series of courses, in fact, from www.alchemystudy.com. The founding faculty member wrote the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Alchemy, so their credentials are rock-solid.
The modules are numerous and varied, with spiritual elements and meditative practices dominating and the actual conversion of lead into gold taking something of a back seat. Much of it is philosophical and aimed at enabling transformative experiences in the learner’s life rather than hands-on transmogrification of things. The syllabus includes:
- Courses in the Hermetic tradition, including the Corpus Hermeticum, Egyptology, the Tarot, Kabbalah, sacred geometry, and studies in Hermetic symbolism and cosmology.
- Courses in the Esoteric Arts, including spirituality, sacred music, shamanism, paranormal studies, divination, and meditation.
- The secret science of the Emerald Tablet.
- Herbal alchemy – the creation of spagyric elixirs.
- The secret ciphers and alphabets of the alchemists, and their interpretation as spiritual metaphors.
- How to grow a really cool beard.