The Art and (Proto)Science of Alchemy
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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.
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Nuns, monks, preachers and the people they educated were to visualize the material they were processing. A branchy tree or a finely feathered angel. The images might loosely correspond to the substance of an idea.
The point was to give the mind something to draw, to indulge its appetite for interesting forms while sorting its ideas into some logical structure.
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