Since ancient times, mankind, not knowing the laws of nature, trying to explain many phenomena by the manifestation of some kind of divine or mystical essence. So all kinds of occult practices appeared, some of which were transformed into religion, some into what is now called magic.
The most interesting thing is that neither the first nor the second is formally denied by modern science. All phenomena that science cannot explain, it either does not consider at all, or is limited to a short comment: "the phenomenon requires detailed research." Meanwhile, the huge legacy of the mystical knowledge of the past and today finds its application in various fields: from agriculture to medicine.
For many years, people believe that stones and metals have supernatural properties, and the latter enhance the properties of the former. Metals were considered conductors of cosmic energy. This was the reason for the manufacture of metal frames for stones.
The traditional "magic" number was seven, which is found in a wide variety of manifestations not only of the world of magic, but also of everyday life. For example, seven colors of the rainbow, seven notes, seven days in a week, and so on. Due to some coincidence, or the actual manifestation of mysticism, only 7 metals were known to mankind in ancient times. With so many sets of seven elements on hand, it would be logical to establish connections between them. And so it happened, and each metal began to correspond to its own days of the week, planets, notes, and so on.
Naturally, drawing these analogies, people took into account the peculiarities of certain elements and tried to more or less competently combine them. Gold, for example, corresponded to: the day of the week is Sunday, the heavenly body is the Sun, the yellow color of the rainbow. Until now, in different languages, we see echoes of that time: the days of the week are called either by heavenly bodies, or by their corresponding metals.
The most surprising thing was that many centuries after this seemingly random or very superficial distribution, its true meaning began to become clear. The most interesting property of this or that metal was expressed in some, also very characteristic, property attributed to this or that celestial body or god, the hypostasis of which it was.
The planet Saturn (the symbol of the god of time in the ancient Roman pantheon) was associated with lead. Only in the 20th century it was found out that lead is the heaviest stable element; he defines the boundary to which time has no power over metals. All elements heavier than him are unstable and eventually decay into lighter ones. The surface of Mars (the god of war) is entirely covered with reddish soil, due to its high iron content. And so: it was iron that was associated with the planet Mars. Mercury, the only planet on the surface of which there is molten metal, corresponded to the metal of mercury - the only liquid metal under normal conditions. And so on: the features of all celestial bodies (or the corresponding gods, which was the same for alchemists and astrologers) were reflected in the characteristic manifestations of metals;There are no exceptions or errors - Mars, for example, does not have any special properties related to mercury or tin.
Inevitably, the question arises: how could the ancient people know all this? There can be only a few explanations here: either they had the ability to foresee the future, or our ancestors had a deeper understanding of the essence of things than we used to imagine.
No less interesting is the modern confirmation of the recipes of ancient doctors who used pure metals in their practice. For example, gold dust helps in the treatment of arthritis and autoimmune diseases. And the water, in which gold was infused for a week, perfectly helps with depression, as well as diseases of the lungs and liver. As for silver, its antiseptic properties were known in ancient times, and now the main use of silver compounds in medicine remains unchanged - disinfection and precipitation of proteins. Copper is used as a decongestant and sedative. There are many examples. Modern science only makes a helpless gesture: of the effects of all metals in their pure form on a person, it has dealt only with silver and cannot say anything about all the rest. Traditional Chinese medicine still uses metal therapy without thinking about its materialistic or scientific rationale.
At one time, a whole "science" was devoted to the study of the mystical properties of metals - hermeticism. This doctrine, which arose at the junction of the eras of antiquity and the Middle Ages, was a wild mixture of the Hellenistic religion, Christianity, Jewish cabalism and ancient Egyptian religion. However, for its time it was a fairly serious semi-scientific, semi-magical knowledge, on which many disciplines of that time were based - from metallurgy to medicine. Famous Hermeticists were: Paracelsus, Giordano Bruno, Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Modern science, leaving no stone unturned in the teachings of the Hermeticists about the properties of metals, nevertheless, has rather closely used the results of their labors. The founder of Bayer, Johannes Wescott, as well as the famous English chemist Alder Wright, never hid that the ideas of many of their chemical experiments and ideas were drawn from the books of the Hermeticists.
Isn't it strange that the inventors of aspirin and morphine, one of the fundamental drugs of modern pharmaceuticals, somehow drew their inspiration from the books of the ancient magicians on the metaphysics of metals?
Currently, many of the creations of the ancient alchemists are undergoing a radical revision. Science is no longer as critical of them as it was a hundred years ago. It turns out that despite the seeming blinkeredness and narrow-mindedness of the ancient "practical occultists", their knowledge and magical recipes contained a grain of rationalism, which became visible to the scientific world quite recently. And, perhaps, in the next 50-100 years we will witness cold thermonuclear fusion, which is the very way of converting metals into gold, which the alchemists of the past were so vainly looking for …