Alchemy in the Middle Ages was a mixture of science, philosophy, and mysticism. Alchemists approached their craft, believing that purity of mind, body, and spirit was necessary.
Medieval alchemy was centered around the idea that all matter was composed of four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. They theorized that the right combination could produce any substance on earth.
Human history is often framed as a series of episodes, representing sudden bursts of knowledge. The Agricultural Revolution, the Renaissance, and the Industrial Revolution are just a few examples of historical periods where it is generally thought that innovation moved more rapidly than at other points in history, leading to huge and sudden shake-ups in science, literature, technology, and philosophy.
During the Renaissance, there was a renewed interest in the arts and literature. It led to a shift toward more independent thinking.
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther promoted his thoughts by printing and distributing them, encouraging churchgoers to read the Bible for themselves. This led to the Protestant Reformation.
In the process, the criticism and reform led to placing the burden of proof ahead in understanding the natural world, paving the way for the scientific revolution.