We use the term Alchemy because it has connotations of a master science that can combine many elements into one. This reflects our vision at INBI World. We recognise the value and applaud the diversity of all cultures by looking beyond outward appearances into their heart, into the heart of knowledge.
A brief history of Alchemy
"The goal of Alchemical teachings is to let us discover the new things in life, attain happiness in every action that we perform and be able to fully contemplate what surrounds us, taking full advantage of that natural phenomena. Alchemy allows us to maintain harmony within and bring the external into balance with the internal. Alchemy teaches our mind, body and energy to work together, in accordance with rhythm of Nature. Alchemy is defined by laws, governed by cycles and transforms through rhythm. Alchemy is a way of being, based on knowledge and principles which determine the existence of life in the universe." Jie Kong
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It is assumed that the word “alchemy” is of Arabic origin, and its meaning lies in the article “al” and adjective “khemi”, which means “black earth” or “ Black Country ”. At the same time, the ancient Greek language has its own interpretation: “chumos” – juice, “chuma” – casting, flow, river, “chemivsis” – mixing, and Chinese root “chem” sums it all up – “gold”.
Traditionally, the creation of alchemy has its roots in Ancient Egypt. Alchemists, or as they were also called, Hermetic Sorcerers, believed that Hermes Thrice-master (Thrice Great Hermes) was the legendary founder of this Royal Art. They equated him with the ancient Greek God Tot and in his honour called alchemy the 'Black Art' or Hermetism.
According to legend, only Sons of God possessed the secret knowledge of alchemy, which is mentioned in Genesis before the Flood. They were Angels or Stars, which once descended from the sky to be married to earth women and pass to them their secret knowledge.
It is known that in Ancient China alchemy was studied 500 years before ?.O. The science being primarily a system of spiritual development, devoted to the practical knowledge about the ability of “mystical departure”.
Having its genesis in the art of priests and the work of metallurgists, miners and jewellers in different parts of the world, alchemy acquired different forms, according to the local culture. For instance, it became the foundation of religious beliefs in ancient China , and in Lao Zi's work, the “Dao De Jing” (Book of Changes) we can find the laws of alchemic science applied to the “Spirit Development Doctrine”. Alchemy is a vital part of exoteric Daoism, bringing its internal sacred tradition into harmony with its opposite, external philosophy.
The Buddhist Mahayana Avatamsaka Sutra mentions the Alchemic Elixir of Life: “There is a special nectar called Hataka – it's an essence, one unit of which can turn a thousand units of bronze into pure gold”. Hindi Atarva Vedas, over three thousand years old, “pronounce” the “magic words” about the Elixir. Consecutive mining of this essence is the Magnum Opus – Great Deed or Great Work of alchemy, which has both spiritual and physical aspects, equated to reaching enlightenment.
The founders of the philosophical principles of Alchemy lived in Ancient Greece, Byzantine and Arabic countries. The main Greek schools of Hermetic art were founded in Alexandria at the beginning of 4th Century AD by Zosim Paneapolitan. Some of his work was preserved, and in particular, “The treatise about kilns”, where he describes glass distillation vessels long before Arabic scientists mention them in their works.
Alchemy “traveled” during the 5th Century as well, “migrating” from Alexandria to Byzantine, where Arabs, who collected the heritage of the Egyptians and Greeks, discover it several decades later. From the 7th to 9th centuries it finds its way into all countries conquered by the Arabs – in particular, into Spain , which became one of the largest centers of Hermetic art in Europe .
Starting from the time of Paracelsus (at end of 15th to the beginning of 16th century), the principles of iatrochemistry (chemistry applied to medicine) start developing in Medieval European Alchemy, for the purpose of gaining longevity and immortality. One of the goals of “treating” base metals and turning them into gold becomes the treatment of human imperfections. Like Chinese alchemists, Paracelsus was making “drinking gold” or Life Elixir that would help one to achieve transformation and completely cure the body. His alchemy was also focused on the Macro-cosmos, by solving the issues of universal medicine.
Alchemists consider Tabula Smaragdina, the famous “Emerald Tablet”, to be the main condition for gaining a practical knowledge about methods through which they can continue the “Great Deed of the Sun” and even “put a finish to this process”.
According to the legend, the Emerald Tablet was found in the depths of the Great Pyramid in Giza by warriors of Alexander the Great. Having sneaked into Hermes's tomb, they saw his mummy holding a beautiful emerald plate. It was assumed that Hermes himself carved sacred inscriptions on it with a diamond – a few lines containing the main alchemic text.
Modern research of secret alchemic knowledge is often limited to only a preliminary study – learning the history, facts, and personalities of the alchemy. INBI Academies on the other hand seek to deepen the research and application of Internal Alchemy in a systematic way to make it accessible and useful in a contemporary context of self development.