The primary hypothesis of ancient alchemists was the divisibility of substance from form. They suspected the processes of change available to them—the release of destruction, the awakening of transformation, the slumber of dissolution, and the artifice of fabrication—all acted upon the superficial malleability. Beneath, the Indivisible remained resolute and unchanging. Alchemy was the art by which that Singularity would be revealed.
The medieval alchemists looked up on the efforts of their historical brethren and saw generations of failure. They believed the quest was personal, that only a purified alchemist could accomplish the Great Work. The Indivisible could only be found by an equally redacted seeker.
The industrial alchemists were distracted by clockwork mechanisms, the mass production of glass, and the heat of the iron smelter. They abandoned the path of internal purification and devoted themselves to the diminishing spiral of metallurgical recombination.
The organic alchemists quibble over terminology, dancing endlessly around definitions and citations of authority. But they all take the same mushrooms, they all smoke the same leaf and inject the same venoms. Hallucinogen, psychedelic, or entheogen: the material has no intent of its own, it has no academic or pharmaceutical agenda to realize. It is simply a catalyst.
"Laboratory," for the organic alchemist, is synonymous with "temple." "Catalyst" can be replaced with "communion." "Alchemist" becomes just another term for . . .