From germ to being - chaos dragon, crucible and philosopher's stone - the world view of alchemy explained by its symbols, myths and rituals

When people talk about spirit of wine, elixir, sublimation or noble metals, hardly anyone thinks of alchemy. Its tangible beginnings can be found in Hellenistic Egypt. Similar ideas exist in other cultures around the world. The fact that substances change, e.g. in connection with eating/drinking and excretion, extraction and processing of material, pregnancy/birth and death/decomposition, led to ideas of how substances in the cosmos can merge and diverge. Alchemy was a doctrine of the transformation of substances into imperishable essences, which originally combined a metallurgy and color art, but also a psychological-religious conception of the development of the human being. Important was the gradual purification of the substance (e.g. lead) into a spiritual essence (gold, self). The transformation (transmutation) succeeded with a special extract, the "philosopher's stone", obtained in a lengthy process (the work) from the first matter. The symbolism, myths and rites of alchemy are confusing and complex, but they contain a wealth of ancient ideas about the change and transformation of matter in the cosmos and the relationship of matter and spirit. Let us enter the fascinating, strange, and enigmatic world of alchemy and learn more about it with "hot endeavor" (an alchemical phrase).

Course Director: Dr. Rappenglück, Michael A.. The course instructor holds a doctorate in natural science and is the director of the Gilching Observatory. More at

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