The Alchemy web site on
Different ways of looking at alchemy
There are many different ways of looking at alchemy, the practical, the symbolic, the psychological and the scholarly being the primary perspectives.
  • As a proto-chemistry, which gave a new impulse towards the preparation of medicinal remedies
  • As a source of symbolism, in which various groupings of powerful archetypal symbols were brought together
  • As providing insights into psychology, the inner archetypal structure of human thinking and feeling
  • As a meditative exploration of the human soul through undertaking allegorical journeys
  • As a type of mysticism, in which the alchemical transformation is paralleled with mystical experiences, and religious ideas.
  • As giving insights into the metaphysical, which in a strange way elaborates parallels between alchemy and the investigations of present day physics
  • As a newly recognised influence on cultural history, alchemy is now seen by historians of ideas as an important shaper of the world view of various writers, artists and musicians

Reading list
Some quotations
Frequently asked questions
Common misconceptions

The different ways of
looking at alchemy

allegorical journeys
historians of ideas