Spagyrics or Alchemy, a Mind Body Discipline

As an attorney we got involved in a case about spagyrics. In a nutshell the case is as follows. An alchemist in Holland sells alchemical, or spagyric, products, which he claims heal all kinds of diseases. Now the Dutch government does not want to allow all kinds of quackery to be freely sold on the market and therefore the Dutch Act for the Provision of Drugs contains very stringent and costly rules which any supplier of drugs has to comply with, if he wants to sell drugs legally on the market.

If, however, any product is not considered a ‘drug’ but a ‘health product’, the supplier does not have to comply with these stringent rules. The difference between a ‘drug’ and a ‘health product’ is, of course, a matter of definition. The case aims to persuade the government to recognize that a number of specifically named spagyric products, prepared by a specific manufacturer, are health products. The government holds that these specific products are drugs, which in itself is quite remarkable, because the government – quite implicitly! – considers all alchemical ‘potions’ to be quackery anyway. So, how can they be considered to be ‘drugs’ then?

Need for a scientific methodology

The case has laid bare the need for developing a scientifically acceptable methodology to research spagyric products. We personally have no knowledge of spagyrics, but from our own experience we have a rudimentary knowledge of energetic streams flowing in the body. These steams are presumably also used in acupuncture and other Eastern disciplines, such as yoga and tao. In other words, we know that phenomena like, for instance, ‘Chi-energy’ and ‘Kundalini’ do exist. We know, because we have personally experienced it.

However, in our science-based culture we want more than a personal conviction. We want objective proof. If we can’t detect something by means of our senses, or by means of instruments which are extensions of our senses, it does not exist. And what does not exist we call ‘metaphysics’ and that is the end of the discussion.

This attitude is quite reasonable on the one hand, because science must be practical for it to be of any value. How could one research something that does not exist? On the other hand, this attitude is also limiting, for it precludes scientific research into a vast array of psychic or metaphysical phenomena which could be very beneficial to humanity, if only we understood them better and were able to use them practically.


For instance, the Qabalah, which is Jewish mysticism, teaches that our bodies are basically a reflection or extension of ten energetic globes, called ‘sephiroth’ (sg. ‘sephira’). Now science would dismiss this contention offhand, because we cannot show you where these ‘sephiroth’ are. As far as we know, there is no instrument with which it has been possible to prove the existence of these sephiroth.

And when we mention the fact that these sephiroth are known by various ‘God-names’, the great majority of scientists have lost all interest. They will reason that the notion of ‘sephiroth’ is nonsense, because how could one begin to study energetic formative globes with God-names scientifically? So the question is: ‘Should we dismiss such contentions as mere ‘quackery’ or metaphysical claptrap, or should we try and develop a scientific methodology to seriously research such contentions?’ We believe a thorough methodology should be developed.

Why do spagyric products heal?

It has been observed that spagyric products (as well as other alternative medicinal products) can and do indeed effect some quite unexpected and inexplicable cures. But we do not know why and how. We hypothesize that spagyric ‘products’ affect the Qabalistic sephiroth. We also surmise that these sephiroth are the creative matrices which form and maintain our bodies.

Now, if we study all this carefully and in a scientifically acceptable way, who knows what we will uncover? We will probably find many new cures. And no doubt many of the subjective findings underlying spagyrics will be proved to be false, or will have to be adapted. That is well and good. That is what research is supposed to do, i.e. improve and expand our knowledge.

We lack knowledge and therefore we do not use these kinds of metaphysical remedies. Spagyrics and similar disciplines should not be dismissed, but should be thoroughly researched. For instance, we surmise that it is possible with the help of these kinds of disciplines, once thoroughly understood, to teach patients to regenerate parts of their bodies after they have been accidentally severed, just like a lizard does. It is known that if a lizard’s tail has been severed, it will grow a new one. Why can’t people do this? There must be a natural principle involved, if only we knew it. Call it ‘metaphysical’ if you will, but a lizard apparently knows something we don’t.

This article is the introduction to a paper with the same title posted on our website in the Knowledge Center. We hope to have roused your interest to read the whole paper.

Today’s video has only partial relevance to this article. But it is very interesting to note that Sufism (the Islamic mystical tradition) has roots also in Hermeticism (and thus also in Alchemy). It is not difficult to see how this can easily converge with Christian and even Jewish mysticism. It has long been known that there is no essential difference between the three religions.