Weird and Wonderful Alchemical Illustrations from the 15th to 18th Centuries

Alchemy was the genetic modification of the past. Alchemists were respected scientists before the term existed, with its roots going back more than 2,000 years ago in Egypt, India, Asia and the Islamic world, and finally being introduced to Europe during the 12th century. Since many of the early alchemical texts have been lost to centuries of war and burning, what remains are many of the European texts from the 15th to 18th centuries. In them, alchemists created diagrams of their philosophies and practices that are so strange and surreal that it’s hard to remember that this was a serious scientific practice. Check out some of the weird imagery they used to demonstrate alchemy’s mystic purposes below…





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Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.

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adrian campbellDorian Sahy Recent comment authors
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adrian campbell

It’s actually not weird at all if you understand the symbolism. Another thing to keep in mind is that science has it’s own language and like all languages it changes over time. For instance a symbol for an element like Mercury or Gold has multiple meanings depending on the era and context. – My point is that if you are writing about a different culture an anthropologists view point should at least be considered. My suggestion is that the next time you post, do a little research first. With the internet it’s not to hard to find a copy of… Read more »

Dorian Sahy

Jacques, Quentin.