Alchemy can be defined using a few different means. One way is to define Alchemy using the semantics of word itself. The word Alchemy is sometimes considered as an acronym and sometimes considered as a two part word. Nevertheless both versions when broken down give an adequate definition of Alchemy. These two breakdowns are given below.
Alchemy – Composite Word
“Al (as a connotation of the Arabic word Allah: al-, the +ilah, God) means “The God”. Also Al (Hebrew) for highest” or El “God”. Chem or Khem is from kimia (Greek) which means “to fuse or cast a metal”. Also from Khem, the ancient name for Egypt. The synthesis is Al-Kima: “to fuse with the highest” or “to fuse with God.”
Excerpt from the glossary of the book: “The Mystery of the Golden Blossom”, by V.M Samael Aun Weor, published by Glorian, 2010.
“Instead of dealing with chemistry, occultism, and religion as distinct and separate subjects, alchemy has definitely taught the unity of all Life and Manifestation. It has attempted, and I think successfully, to correlate chemistry, occultism, religion, astrology, magic, and mythology, and to present them all as parts of the One Manifestation.
It has attempted also to show that as the health and well-being of the body are as necessary to true religion as true religion is necessary to a healthy and balanced body, so occultism, elucidating as it does the unseen aspects of man, is necessary to both.
By true religion, of course, I mean, not the dogmatic teaching of any one church or sect, but the Law of Life and Living; and by occultism, the manifestation of Powers working through and with Man to his ultimate perfection.”
Alchemy as a study is a science and when applied practically it is a work (Great work) and an art. The work of transmuting the base metals of the personality into the gold of the spirit is in its own right, a proper art. One has to know how to do this work it properly, making it an art.
As the above excerpts indicate Alchemy is a spiritual art or science or work, whose fundamental aim is the transformation of the human being into a state that will allow the human being to fuse as one with his or her interior Divinity.
As a study, Alchemy is very interesting as it combines in one, chemistry, mysticism, mythology, esotericism and astrology. This interweaving produces a very interesting and special study , which turns out to be the science of human esoteric or spiritual development.
Introduction to Excerpt
I found this precious passage from the book “Secret Teachings of All Ages” by Manly P. Hall.
It is a version of the dialogue that occurs between Adam and the tempting serpent of the tree of the science of good and evil. We know from Master Samael' teachings that the TREE represents our sexuality.
Manly P. Hall says that it most likely comes from an ancient Egyptian ritual. It is here Adam after so much suffering, trials and tribulations tries to enter the Garden of Eden, from where he was banished, only to face the guardian of the tree of the science of good and evil which is the tempting serpent of Eden. They then have the following really precious dialogue.
It is quite a long excerpt, so have some to study it intuitively.
In this ritualistic drama--possibly derived from the Egyptians--Adam, banished from the Garden of Eden, represents man philosophically exiled from the sphere of Truth. Through ignorance man falls; through wisdom he redeems himself. The Garden of Eden represents the House of the Mysteries (see The Vision of Enoch) in the midst of which grew both the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Man, the banished Adam, seeks to pass from the outer court of the Sanctuary (the exterior universe) into the sanctum sanctorum, but before him rises a vast creature armed with a flashing sword that, moving slowly but continually, sweeps clear a wide circle, and through this "Ring Pass Not" the Adamic man cannot break.
The cherubim address the seeker thus: "Man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return. Thou wert fashioned by the Builder of Forms; thou belongest to the sphere of form, and the breath that was breathed into thy soul was the breath of form and like a flame it shall flicker out. More than thou art thou canst not be. Thou art a denizen of the outer world and it is forbidden thee to enter this inner place."
And the Adam replies: "Many times have I stood within this courtyard and begged admission to my Father's house and thou hast refused it me and sent me back to wander in darkness. True it is that I was fashioned out of the dirt and that my Maker could not confer upon me the boon of immortality.
But no more shalt thou send me away; for, wandering in the darkness, I have discovered that the Almighty hath decreed my salvation because He hath sent out of the most hidden Mystery His Only Begotten who didst take upon Himself the world fashioned by the Demiurgus.
Upon the elements of that world was He crucified and from Him hath poured forth the blood of my salvation. And God, entering into His creation, hath quickened it and established therein a road that leadeth to Himself.
While my Maker could not give me immortality, immortality was inherent in the very dust of which I was composed, for before the world was fabricated and before the Demiurgus became the Regent of Nature the Eternal Life had impressed itself upon the face of Cosmos. This is its sign--the Cross. Do you now deny me entrance, I who have at last learned the mystery of myself?"
And the voice replies: "He who is aware, IS! Behold!"
Gazing about him, Adam finds himself in a radiant place, in the midst of which stands a tree with flashing jewels for fruit and entwined about its trunk a flaming, winged serpent crowned with a diadem of stars. It was the voice of the serpent that had spoken.
"Who art thou?" demands the Adam.
"I," the serpent answers, "am Satan who was stoned; I am the Adversary--the Lord who is against you, the one who pleads for your destruction before the Eternal Tribunal. I was your enemy upon the day that you were formed; I have led you into temptation; I have delivered you into the hands of evil; I have maligned you; I have striven ever to achieve your undoing. I am the guardian of the Tree of Knowledge and I have sworn that none whom I can lead astray shall partake of its fruits."
The Adam replies: "For uncounted ages have I been thy servant. In my ignorance I listened to thy words and thy led me into paths of sorrow.
Thou hast placed in my mind dreams of power, and when I struggled to realize those dreams they brought me naught but pain.
Thou hast sowed in me the seeds of desire, and when I lusted after the things of the flesh agony was my only recompense.
Thou hast sent me false prophets and false reasoning, and when I strove to grasp the magnitude of Truth I found thy laws were false and only dismay rewarded my strivings. I am done with thee forever, O artful Spirit! I have tired of thy world of illusions.
No longer will I labor in thy vineyards of iniquity. Get thee behind me, tempter, and the host of thy temptations. There is no happiness, no peace, no good, no future in the doctrines of selfishness, hate, and passion preached by thee. All these things do I cast aside. Renounced is thy rule forever!"
And the serpent makes answer: "Behold, O Adam, the nature of thy Adversary!" The serpent disappears in a blinding sunburst of radiance and in its place stands an angel resplendent in shining, golden garments with great scarlet wings that spread from one corner of the heavens to the other. Dismayed and awestruck, the Adam falls before the divine creature.
"I am the Lord who is against thee and thus accomplishes thy salvation, " continues the voice. "Thou hast hated me, but through the ages yet to be thou shalt bless me, for I have led thee our of the sphere of the Demiurgus; I have turned thee against the illusion of worldliness; I have weaned thee of desire; I have awakened in thy soul the immortality of which I myself partake. Follow me, O Adam, for I am the Way, the Life, and the Truth!"
The guardian of the tree of the science of good and evil is Christus Lucifer. That is Lucifer whose job it is or has been to take the soul through all these esoteric experiences so to be able to be free from all the desires and illusion in life and creation, with the purpose of taking us to the self-realisation.
Humanity is Adam mentioned in the above excerpt.