The word "magic" evokes many ideas, from a stage magician performing illusions to the pyrotechnics of witches and wizards depicted in movies and on television. But there is a more practical definition of magic—the attempt to affect the real world, one's self, or other people by tapping into mental abilities and unseen mystical forces. The keys to doing this have been closely guarded in the past, leading to the perception of magic as an occult pursuit. Yet, magic and magical traditions have existed in some form in almost every culture throughout history. Similarly, alchemy is a form of magic that involves harnessing the elements to achieve enlightenment and wisdom. Alchemists hope to transform themselves through its rituals and achieve a higher physical state, and alchemy's experimental nature has influenced the development of modern science.
Magic and alchemy share a central philosophy, one that has had a great impact on the progress of Western society. This fascinating new book covers the history, practices, and philosophies of magic and alchemy in Western history, explaining their basic concepts, looking at the tools used by magicians and alchemists, and discussing the rituals associated with each.
- The Beginning of Magic
- The Practice of Magic
- The History of Alchemy
- The Philosophy of Alchemy
- The Synthesis of Magic, Alchemy, and Kabbalah
- Magic and Alchemy Today.
Full-color and black-and-white photographs and illustrations. Sidebars. Timeline. Endnotes. Further resources. Glossary. Index.
About the Author(s)
Robert M. Place is an internationally known author and illustrator, whose clear, insightful books have won critical acclaim. He is the designer, illustrator, and coauthor with Rosemary Ellen Guiley of The Alchemical Tarot and The Angels Tarot. He is the designer, illustrator, and author of The Buddha Tarot and The Tarot of the Saints, which was awarded first runner-up in Sideline/Interactive at the 2002 International New Age Trade Show. Place is also the author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. In 2004, he won an ADDY award from the American Advertising Federation. He wrote Astrology and Divination and Shamanism for Chelsea House’s Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena series.