Where did alchemy originate?

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(and how by what road did it travel to get to the Western world?) The origins of alchemy are shrouded in mystery. The art has been practiced since before recorded history. The oldest written records of all the main cultures include references to alchemical concepts and alchemical methodology. For convenience sake it is often said that the art originated in ancient Egypt with the reign of the God-king Thoth-Hermes, the founder of the Hermetic (magickal) Tradition. Alchemists themselves often refer to Thoth as having created alchemy as the mother science, the font and touchstone (measuring stick) of every other art and science. Another legend professed often by Christian alchemists of the middle ages was that it was the science given to Adam after his expulsion from Eden, in order to aid him in finding a way to return to paradise. History, though, insists that the Egyptians and Sumerians first practiced a type of alchemy from the earliest ages. That the Greeks gained access to this ... more
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