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Science and Occult History

To: talk.euthanasia,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,sci.skeptic,alt.consciousness,talk.religion.misc,alt.occult,alt.astrology,alt.religion.shamanism
From: (Gratuitous Pseudonym)
Subject: Re: Science and Occult History (unknown previous subject header)
Date: Fri, 03 May 96 23:37:28 GMT

In article , wrote:

>	Which, as you imply, clearly shows that Carl Sagan does not know the 
>first thing about alchemy. The transmutation from base metal to gold was a 
>simile, not of literal transformation of metals, but tranformation of the 
>human soul. The major remaining alchemical group is Freemasonry, whose 
>alchemical concepts found their way into the U.S. Constitution. Not bad for a 
>group of self-deluding frauds.

The concept of "spiritual alchemy" seems to have arisen much later than the 
physical alchemy to which Sagan referred.  If it was all allegorical, then why 
did so many alchemists die of mercury poisoning?

>	In short, Mr. Sagan goes against the con artists who claimed they were 
>practicing alchemy (like Cagliostro, last of the great charlatans), rather 
>than the alchemists themselves.

Charlatans play upon the beliefs of the people around them.  Since many people 
believed that the transformation of base metals into gold had been discovered 
by alchemists, it is not surprising that con artists appeared to take 
advantage of that expectation.  

The science of chemistry arose from the physical experiments of people who 
sought the alchemical transformation and discovered other curious properties 
of various substances as they proceeded.  I'm sure that many sincere 
investigators tried all sorts of ways to create the Elixir Vitae and the 
Philosopher's Stone from chemicals they managed to procure.

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