A story between reality and fantasy

A dark and dusty cave, with tables and cabinets filled with mortars and pestles, where in the corner, a cauldron slowly bubbles away on the crackling fire. This is the laboratory of the alchemist, as described many times in legends, stories and genre films like Fulcanelli, Cagliostro and even Amelia, the disneyana “witchmaker who bewitches”. We tend to imagine them all like, as a fantasy, but above all, we imagine them as existing in the past, with the assumption that today, the culture and knowledge of that world no longer exists. But what exactly is an alchemist? What distinguishes him from a magician? Why is Ruggero Bacone an alchemist and Albus Dumbledore a magician instead? Alchemy is that branch of magic that acts through the transformation of one element into another, through the intervention of other substances and above all, various, innumerable steps. If magic is as the ancient texts say, “imposing will on things”, alchemy is the “transforming of things”. According to tradition, the fundamental element of the transformation is the obtaining of the philosopher’s stone, capable of transforming lead into gold, that is, of making precious what is not yet so precious. So far, precisely, what tradition says, is between reality and fantasy.

Where is alchemy today?

Could the alchemist come out of fairy tales and become alive in everyday life? Can the alchemists still exist, and find space for this discipline even in our time? Most likely many of them still operate on the planet, silently and privately, in this vocational world of social networks and television channels. They seek the philosopher’s stone, working as their fathers worked, centuries ago. But if this question would be asked on the Damanhur blog, it would certainly have an answer, since in Damanhur there is a school entirely dedicated to alchemy and it is certainly not a secret! What matters is to ask ourselves; what can “alchemy” mean today. What does it mean to transform things through this practice? First of all, things are not transformed, if anything they transform themselves. The greatest work that each of us can do is to make ourselves better, more refined, complete and stronger. The universe has entrusted us with a gift, that is ourselves, and we wish to return it enriched and renewed, with a much greater value than at the beginning.

Find and acquire

Transforming oneself also means transforming the things around us, because at that point we will perceive them differently, and also because they will react in a new way to the encounter with our renewed essence. As words that are put together in a certain order can create a sentence, it is also possible that by substituting only one word, the meaning of that sentence can change entirely. Transforming oneself, and through oneself transforming the environment, can mean many things, but it certainly has a single starting point: the ability to choose through which elements to do it. The alchemist is capable of identifying the energies, the substances he needs, which can help him achieve the transformation he seeks, and he knows how to acquire them. Substances can be enthusiasm, wisdom, fatigue, courage, dedication and everything that belongs to the sphere of human experience and emotion. How can we acquire them and learn the process to distill them and make them our own? Well, it is part of the Alchemy School’s teaching and to tell all the answers in these lines would end up making it seem trivial.

Between communication and chemistry

After all, from this point of view being alchemists today means knowing how to communicate with oneself and with things using different voices that do not belong to us but that we are able to borrow from those who own them, until we can obtain a new voice for ourselves. And in the play of voices, there is an alchemy that transforms oneself, a social alchemy, an alchemy linked to health, linked to the widening of one’s own perceptions, and many others. The rest is research. The alchemist dusts off his philosopher’s stone, he cleans it and renews it, that is, himself, the most powerful instrument in his possession. Moreover, as the biologists say, is not the human body the most extraordinary chemical laboratory present in nature? And alchemy, on closer inspection, is nothing but a chemistry that has had more initiative!