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The Science of decomposing and recomposing things, as well as of changing their essnetial nature and raising it higher--transmuting them into each other. While chemistry deals with lifeless matter, alchemy employs life as a factor, and deals with higher forces of nature and the conditions of matter under which they operate. In its lowest aspect, it deals with physical substances, but in its highest aspect it teaches the regeneration of the spiritual man, the purification of mind, will and thought, and the ennobling of all the faculties of the human soul.
-- Dictionary of Mysticism