Alchemy is the medieval protoscience of chemicals, which focuses on the transmutation of base metals. Alchemy aims to convert less valuable metals into gold, find a cure for all diseases, or find the universal elixir to live forever. There is a lot of mystery and secrecy around the subject of Alchemy. Countries like Egypt, India, and China have several historical traces of Alchemy.
Best Alchemy Books To Read!
Now, Alchemy is more than just proto-science. It’s also philosophical. If you want to understand and explore the subject of Alchemy, you have landed on the right page. In this article, you will find the best alchemy books to read to unravel the mystery of Alchemy.
1. The Beginner’s Guide to Alchemy – Practical Lessons and Exercise To Enhance Your Life by Sarah Durn
The best way to learn about a mysterious subject like Alchemy is to resort to a medievalist. Sarah Durn, the author of The Beginner’s Guide to Alchemy, is a medievalist, writer, actor, and maker. Since we have such a vague idea about Alchemy, we often narrow it down to turning lead into gold. However, Alchemy is much more than just that. It’s not just about transforming matter with elements but also one’s transformation.
In this beginner-friendly book, Sarah Durn will guide you about the physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of Alchemy. You will find several at-home activities and journaling exercises that will stimulate alchemical transformation within you. You will start seeing alchemy in small daily tasks, such as making tea and lighting a scented candle for a relaxing bubble bath. This book has the potential to enhance your life, and you must give it a chance. You can get the book here! 📖
2. Psychology and Alchemy by C.G. Jung
If Carl Jung’s name is not enough to get your hands on this book, then let me tell you that Psychology and Alchemy is one of the most life-changing books you will ever read. Carl Jung believed that Alchemy is a journey you take for self-transformation. If your consciousness is rigid and focuses only on material things, your life’s experiences will be limited. This book is volume 12 of the complete works of Carl Jung, and it’s specially written for readers with an open mind.
The author establishes the relationship between Psychology and Alchemy and how no wall exists between a subject and an object. Our inner state decides our unconscious projection onto external objects. Carl Jung uses Alchemical symbols to reveal the unconscious psychic state. Psychology and Alchemy will not only educate you on the topic of Alchemy, but it will also help you in your personal transformation journey. You can get the book here! 📖
3. The Secret of Alchemy by Lawrence M. Principe
Lawrence M. Principe is one of the most outstanding scholars of Alchemy. He has done a Ph.D. in Chemistry and History of Science. In short, Principe is one of the greatest authorities to follow for knowledge on the subject of Alchemy. The Secret of Alchemy is a solid book to understand how Alchemy began, developed, and entwined with other ideas and practices.
You will get to learn the relationship of Alchemy with human history and culture. The author establishes links between Alchemy, the cosmos, and humanity, which is terrific. You will also be introduced to some beguiling Alchemists, such as Zosimos. Overall, this book is a mesmerizing read which will keep you hooked. You can get the book here! 📖
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the book responsible for making many people aware of the subject of Alchemy. In this fictional story, Paulo Coelho takes the readers on an enchanting journey of self-discovery. The book talks about how everything is connected in the Universe, and therefore, if we desire something from the deepest corner of our hearts, the Universe will conspire to bring it to us.
The line between reality and spirituality blurs with Paulo’s beautiful, captivating storytelling. The language of the book is also easy to read for beginners. So, if you have never read anything about Alchemy, you must start with this one to build a base for your future reads. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy by Robert Allen Bartlett
Robert Allen Bartlett is an English historian, medievalist, laboratory scientist, and chemist. His knowledge of Alchemy and the history of science is prolific. In his book Real Alchemy, he covers the history of Alchemy and discusses different theories and practices of Alchemy. As the name of the book suggests, Real Alchemy is all about the actual rules and knowledge of Alchemy that you can apply and start your Alchemical journey in a laboratory. You must read this book if you want to go beyond the theoretical aspect of Alchemy and get started with the real stuff. You can get the book here! 📖
6. The Emerald Tablet of Hermes by Hermes Trismegistus
Western Alchemy originates from the Hellenistic Egpyt, particularly the city of Alexandria. Hermes Trismegistus is one of the most important authorities in the mythology of Alchemy. The name Hermes Trismegistus means Hermes the Thrice-Great, and the name is derived from the Greek God Hermes and the God of Wisdom, Thoth. Hermes is deemed the author of the book Hermetica which sets the foundation of Western alchemical practices and philosophy.
The Emerald Tablet is also the work of Hermes, and it was a tablet made out of emerald, a green stone. This emerald tablet was carved with the secrets of the Universe. There are many legends regarding the source of the Emerald Tablet, as there isn’t much clarity about how it was retrieved. It is considered one of the most influential texts on medieval and renaissance Alchemy. If you want to dig deeper and understand Alchemy from a historical perspective, then the Emerald Tablet will be a great read. You can get the book here! 📖
7. A Course in Mastering Alchemy: Tools to Shift, Transform, and Ascend by Jim Self and Roxanne Burn
A Course In Mastering Alchemy is a contrasting recommendation after The Emerald Tablet. Learning about a subject’s history is helpful to a certain extent. But we live in the 21st century and focus on adapting to change while embracing ancient knowledge in modern ways. A Course in Mastering Alchemy will teach you how to change the frequencies of your thoughts and ultimately transform how you interact with the world around you. I highly recommend it for those who want to elevate their life. This book is based on the popular online Course In Mastering Alchemy by Jim Self and Roxanne Burn. You can also get your hands on the additional resource material available online. You can get the book here! 📖
8. Alchemy and Mysticism by Alexander Roob
Alchemy and Mysticism by Alexander Roob is a book that will enrich your curious mind with all things Alchemy. You will get to tap into esoteric mythology in this book. The book consists of writings, paintings, illustrations, drawings, and prints which will help you learn about Alchemy with lots of detail. This book combines science, philosophy, mysticism, and the supernatural. Overall it’s a beautiful book to add to your reading list to deepen your research on Alchemy. You can get the book here! 📖
9. The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Alchemy by Dennis Willian Hauck
Alchemy is often associated with magic and witchcraft. One of the reasons behind this misunderstanding is the inability to categorize Alchemy under a particular stream. Author Dennis William Hauck manages to demystify Alchemy with his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Alchemy. In this book, you will get to read about the history, philosophy, and practices of Alchemy in an easy-to-understand language. The author discusses the Alchemist’s codes, including ciphers, symbols, signs, and sacred geometry.
You will also find a list of tonics, elixirs, and other alchemical medicines. The way Dennis describes the relationship between science and Alchemy is comprehensive and practical. The significance of the philosopher’s stone is also discussed commendably. This is a must-read book for anyone even remotely interested in Alchemy. You can get the book here! 📖
10. Alchemy: The Surprising Power Of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense by Rory Sutherland
This will take you by surprise. Rory Sutherland, the vice-chairman of Ogilvy UK, is an icon in the advertising industry. And when he writes a book on Alchemy, you want to grab it off the shelf of your nearest bookstore. Now, this one is different from your regular Alchemy book. As you must have imagined, Rory Sutherland took a psychological path for this one.
Human psychology is unique and cannot be put under the lens of rationality to understand its potential. Sometimes the magic works behind ideas that cannot be described with rationality. And Rory Sutherland does an exceptional job putting the magic behind an idea on paper. You can get the book here! 📖
There are some subjects and topics that leave you mesmerized. Especially the ones that come from the deepest corners of human history. Legends and mythologies make it challenging to unravel science and reality. But that’s when the fun begins. I hope you found the books you will read from this list to learn more about Alchemy and demystify your understanding.
Sneha Banerjee has been writing for half a decade now. She is also a professional copywriter and has worked for many businesses. She is a voracious reader, and her ultimate dream is to turn everyone into a reader.