It’s one of those touchstones of ancient charlatanism that has thrived beyond its medieval origins; a term that smacks of old world wizardry while holding its own in a contemporary tongue.


As a precursor to the modern physician, the alchemist conjured any number of potions to ward off evil, subdue ailments and summon great fortune, and all with the wave of a wand. Ah, for the grand old days when a pharmacist could exorcise devils and regrow hair with the same elixir.

Then there’s the alchemy of affection, the essence of all that enchants, arriving readymade to seduce and satisfy. This rarified promise of handcrafted magic still intoxicates as we pine for its spell in whatever mystical form it assumes. Internet dating aside, there is something to be said for the allure of romance, the only real magic in which any of us wittingly invest ourselves. Fools that we are, oh to be subdued by beauty, ensnared by lust and shackled in the throes of love’s torturous trance.

Alchemy exists to transform a thing without value into something precious. It’s little wonder that such a seductive notion still holds sway after so many centuries. And who among us wouldn’t grasp with both hands at the thread of hope that happiness can actually be conjured from the bubbling crucibles of our most secret dreams?