The word ‘alchemist’ comes from the practice of alchemy, which according to the Oxford English and Merriam Webster Dictionaries is defined as:
A medieval forerunner of chemistry and speculative philosophy concerned with the transmutation of matter to discover a universal elixir.
So what does that exactly mean, what is the definition telling us?
Well, first and foremost that alchemy is old, appearing before the 5th century around the time of the late Roman Empire, and that it is a physical practice that led to the study of composition, structure, properties and change of matter that we scientifically know today as chemistry.
Secondly, alchemy is a philosophy relating to what can be known through an understanding of how certain things work rather than by observation. Merriam Webster takes this understanding a little further by introducing the concept of ‘power’ in relation to transmutation
“A power or process of transforming something common into something special”.
In physics ‘matter’ is described as ‘physical substance’ distinct from mind and spirit. All matter contain energy and early alchemists understood the universal laws which govern its process in relation to the power of change. As physics progressed the early thoughts of alchemy as an inexplicable or mysterious practice, a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination; have gained greater understanding through energy and matter disciplines such as Quantum Mechanics.
The practice of alchemy is therefore studying matter and understanding the processes relating to its powerful transformation. The end product of this transformation, the ‘universal elixir’, is dependent on the matter being studied. The ‘philosophers stone’ is the best possible outcome for any matter in any situation that requires change. Molecular biological alchemy results in the person reading this, social alchemy results in that person experiencing wellness in their daily lives. At the core every person walking the planet is an alchemist of their own matter, a person with the power to transform or crate something through a seemingly magical process.
The fact of alchemy is that many do not study the matter at hand and have lost the ability to understand the process toward the best outcome. Businesses look to productivity without understanding the powerful alchemy of the workforce, often resulting in sick leave and failed outcomes. The worker, requiring time away from the stress and strains of business, fails to understand the powerful alchemy of the body and suffers.
Regaining the practice of alchemy helps work towards the best outcome in any area of life and results in people best summed up by the Urban Dictionary as:
“People who are awesome and full of amazing powers”