From such simple devices, the ancients sought to traverse the stars
Most people, if asked, would claim to be familiar with these elements largely because in the physical world they can recognise substances which, today, go by that name.
“I know what earth, air, fire and water are,” they might haughtily declare before moving on to something infinitely more befitting their lofty opinion of themselves.
But they would be wrong.
Nobody knows what the elements are.
We may be able to recognise them and in some instances, we may also be able to predict what they will do, how they will operate, what results will follow from their mutual interactions, but we do not know what they are, any more than we can ever claim to know what electricity is, except, perhaps, in very vague terms…
Electricity is a force of nature that can be harnassed…
The elements are forces of nature that can be harnassed…
So mysterious are these forces that some mystical schools refuse to call them elements at all, referring to them, instead, as principles.
For Modern Man this mystery is a failing, so it is not accepted and certainly not talked about…
For Ancient Man this mystery was a joy, embraced with open arms, and became something of a raison d’etre.
The ancients never tired of observing the kaleidoscopic interplay of these forces constantly taking place around them.
Consequently, they discovered some pretty amazing things about them.
They called this study, Alchemy…