Alchemy (book)

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Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Properties
Chapter 3 Techniques for Practice of the Art

I. Introduction

Greetings to you student, whoever and wherever you are, that is reading this my final and most complete tractate on the subject of natural philosophy, also known as alchemy, and which I prefer to call the lore of mechanics, being as how it is the study of forces as applied to substance. Know you that I have made it my life's work to study and experiment in order to discover those methods of manipulating substance most efficacious to producing reactions between substances, and to achieving understanding regarding the nature of substance, its characteristics, and its uses. As this is therefore the study of all things in nature, and the study of the prime causes for all action, it is therefore also known as the true science, that being the science of truth, to distinguish it from the many lesser disciplines such as the study of sorcery or of clairvoyance, which being focused on the lesser goals of obtaining results are not properly known as philosophy at all.

It is also called this to distinguish it from the practices of those called clerics or priests, who perform worship to those gods who exist, and pass down the versions of truth told by those selfsame gods. As these truths are frequently at variance to each other, and as true truth is by its nature non-disputable, therefore do I say that the study of natural philosophy is the science of truth to distinguish it from these worshipful followers of many truths.

I say this because it is necessary and desirable that the student of mechanical lore understand that this study encompasses all things, including those commonly known as gods, for it deals with the construction of this world, and that of the gods.

In the beginning, before even those gods came into being, all was pure substance in its infinite variety, and all substance was in that state known as the state of spirit, that being the highest of all the states which may be taken by matter. In that natural and highest state did matter exist for aeons before some random reaction of the substance, reactions being one of the properties of substance, caused to come into being a more complex form that was the first of the gods, that form being a being of pure spirit state. That being did possess the characteristic of consciousness, that is, the characteristic of being aware of itself, and therefore did acquire awareness that there was no other. To remedy this, that being did cause to be created, through reaction, others of its kind, that through their contact could be made ever more complex reactions. Eventually, one of these young "gods" discovered that through the operation of a spiritual force, they could cause matter to descend to its next lowest state, that being the state known as energy, and from whence we learn that this our world was born in fire (or light, or lightning, depending upon the mythic tradition), for it is at this point that those myths handed down to us by the gods begin, and being thus less complete, are therefore inferior to the truth disclosed in the study of this lore of mechanics. Once the nature of this transformation from spirit to energy by means of applying force was understood by those known as gods, then it was quickly discovered the secret of applying other types of force to create matter of ever more gross and solid states, those being first gas, then liquid, and finally the solid matter from which this world itself was made.

Thus we have shown that the study of natural philosophy, also known as the study of alchemy, or the mechanical lores, is inherently superior to the study of magic or sorcery, that being the study of the manipulation of energy for specific effects, and also to the study of clairvoyance, that being the study of nature for again specific effects, and is likewise superior to the study of "the gods" being as they are a consequence of the properties of substance rather than a cause.

II. Properties

Now we shall discuss the diverse properties of substances, for know you this, each and every material was created with a specific nature, and the study of alchemy is the study of the nature of substance. Know you also, that form is but one of the properties of substance, and the most gross and mutable of all the properties. For I ask you, when one takes up a branch, and begins to carve upon it, until one then holds a fine staff for walking, is not the staff still of wood? Thus, as we can see, the form of a substance does not determine its properties. This is not to say that form does not matter. These then are the properties of substance as discovered by myself in my researches.

Form. That property of gross shape visible to our senses of a substance, commonly held to be the most important of properties to the uninitiated, is the least important to those with less knowledge than they believe themselves to have. While it is true that whatever its form, a substance remains a part of that greater substance from which it originates, that form may still have great impact on how it performs in the event of a reaction with other substance, such that it is imperative to the practitioner that he assures that the substance maintains the proper form for a given reaction to take place.

State. That property (along with form) which determines to our mundane senses the appearance of the substance. For example that substance water has 3 commonly known states (and others known only to adepts), that of solid commonly known as ice, that of liquid commonly known as water, and that of gas, commonly known as steam. This property is most closely linked to another, that of tempurature, that being the property which changes in response to the application of a heating or cooling force.

Life. Those properties of a substance called the life properties are those which affect the bodies of the living. These are those properties frequently used in the preparation of treatments for the body, but likewise, may be those properties used in the change, or even destruction of the living body.

Spirit reflects those properties associated with the world of creation, that is the world of the life force commonly associated with the gods and the soul. These properties are most properly understood to be the domain of the gods, and their servants here in the world.

Chemical. Is that property concerned with the reaction of substance to force, and the response by the substance to said force. This is the property of many natural oils for example, to respond to the application of a heating force by bursting into flame and releasing an even stronger portion of that force than was applied to them.

Catalyst. That most vital of properties to the student of alchemy, which encourages reaction to occur between diverse substances, each according to its property, when the potency of substance is insufficient that these reactions should occur without assistance.

Potency. Which is not in and of itself a single property, but is rather a measure of the strength and purity of other properties of substance. It is most efficacious for the student of reaction to learn those techniques most useful in cultivating purity or potency in substance, so as to guarantee consistent and powerful results in reaction.

III. Techniques for practice of the art

Now that we have discussed at some length those properties which are the chief and most important characteristics of substance, I will speak briefly about the proper techniques to be used in the preparation of substance for reaction. The details of the reactions possible are beyond the scope of this work, being focused on the basic, underlying principles of this lore of mechanics, and such descriptions are commonly available in other publications of lesser stature, so we shall not go into them here. There is still a need for the student to understand the nature of many of the techniques used, that is, their relation to reaction, and therefore I provide a brief list.

Heating. The heating of substance is one of the common practices of alchemy, for it changes the form of the substance in ways sometimes subtle, and sometimes drastic according to the properties of the substance. Most commonly, it is used to change the state of the substance from one to another. Thus, when heat is applied to water in the proper manner, the liquid nature of the water is transformed such that the water takes on the state of a gas. This is useful, for water in its gaseous state may combine more effectively with other substances of gaseous nature than it can in its liquid state. In order to best control the heating of substance, it is recommended that the practitioner place a container for the proper nature atop a stove, into which is placed some burning matter, such that the heating force from the burning matter is transferred to the container and thence to the substance.

Drying. One of the many properties common to all substance, is the property of moisture or dampness. This property is frequently one which results in a substance being of less potency, or purity. Thus we can see in many herbs, in their natural state, they possess a great measure of this dampness, and this dampness inhibits their reaction with other substance, such as to render them unmixable. To combat this, we invoke the power of our lady the sun with the use of a Wayerd Pyramid (named after the great dragon of ancient days) which harnesses the power of that sun, to encourage the dryness of substance to increase.

Crushing/pulverizing. Many substances are (in their natural state) of too great a density to be used in reactions. The act of crushing or pulverizing reduces the density of the substance by application of force onto the object, rendering it into a lower density of form such as a pulp or powder, in which state it is frequently more reactive. The common technique for the application of this force is in the use of a strong bowl (known as a mortar) to hold the substance, and a crushing device known as a pestle. The substance is placed in the mortar, and crushed with the pestle.

Cooling. Just as the heating of a substance may be useful to change its nature. Likewise the application of a cold force is commonly used to change the nature of substance in the opposite manner. Thus, if heat applied causes the change in water to a gaseous nature, so the application of a cold force will change the water to its solid state. As we have no easily accessible way to apply a cold force to substance, many alchemists choose to work with the marvel known as an Ulonchai Bucket--a most wondrous device which contains a bound spirit which applies this force to all substance placed within the bucket.

Combining. Another important property with which one must deal, is that of quantity, in that a proper reaction may only take place when all substances are present in the proper mixture. To that end, it is frequently desirable to increase the quantity of a substance, which may be done for solid objects which share the same property of state by simply holding two measures in each hand and combining them.

Breaking. The converse of combining. Used on substance in its solid state to decrease the quantity of the substance to be used.

Mixing. When all substances required for a reaction are present within a given container, including a catalyst if needed, reaction may be encouraged by mixing the substance with one another. This may be accomplished through the use of a stick to stir the contents, or by shaking the contents together. Should the latter method be chosen, it is strongly advised that the student be assured that the container is fully closed and sealed, so as to avoid disaster.