Kheme in Ancient Egyptian language means ‘black earth’, as opposed to the red earth, the sand in the desert is the Egyptian name for ‘Egypt’. Kheme means Egypt. From that the ancient Greeks created the word Chemia (which means Chemistry in modern Greek). The Arabs borrowed the Ancient Greek word Chemia to interpret ‘not the black earth’, but the ‘Black Magic’, which they transformed into Al Kimiya and used it as the word for the ‘philosopher’s stone’. In Medieval times the word became ‘Alchemy’, a word that tries to describe a huge area of philosophy, science, occult studies, a cryptic and symbolic language which for some meant the union with the divine, and for others just a material way to convert all metals into gold and get rich.
If language is an instrument of the mind, a method to create arrays of thinking sequences, then linguistics is a more than a study of language, it is a study of the human mind and its instruments. It is well known that languages were created in order to ‘divide’ people. Ancient languages were ‘secret codes’ known only to the tribe members thus keeping all strangers out, keeping all tribe secrets safe. Greeks, Romans and Arabs were the first to try and change this, urging the spread of their languages as widely as possible.
The above landing of the word from one language to another is more than fascinating for me, and it shows how many millennia the alchemical tradition survived, flourished, was developed for.
But to be precise, alchemy originated in Ancient China, moved to Egypt, and from Greco-Roman Egypt to Islamic world and to the Medieval Europe. Rasayana means the ‘path of essence’ in the Sanskrit and was used to describe the Indian Alchemy. Tao the great cosmological of everything could be thought as the same concept. And the body/mind is the focus of five cosmological agents in the Ancient Chinese tradition. Five elements create the world of Aristotle in Ancient Greece, the fifth being the Quintessence. See a link though centuries, schools, scientists? Not by coincidence.
It is amazing how science takes separate ways from the research of the soul, the spirit, the mind! At some point in history scientists divide the world into two major groups: material and immaterial, the ones we see and can measure, and those who are invisible, imaginary to some. Science decided to deal with only one of them: matter… the dead things… All the others are too spooky to deal with, or too complicated. This is more or less then end of Alchemy. We talked about the start and the end. But the most exciting things happened during the times that Alchemy was very much alive.
But Science was very much in tune with Alchemy and vies-versa, a well known fact for centuries. Some of the most important and well known scientists were also Alchemists.
Lots of people think of it as Mambo Jumbo, but this is only because they alchemists wanted them to. Alchemy was and still is a secret method.
Interested? Stay tuned. I’ll tell you more about it. We had the chance to travel back and meet some of them. Not kidding!