The word 'magic' evokes many ideas, from a stage magician performing illusions to the pyrotechnics of witches and wizards depicted in movies and on television. But there is a more practical definition of magic - the attempt to affect the real world, one's self, or other people by tapping into mental abilities and unseen mystical forces. The keys to doing this have been closely guarded in the past, leading to the perception of magic as an occult pursuit. Yet, magic and magical traditions have existed in some form in almost every culture throughout history. Similarly, alchemy is a form of magic that involves harnessing the elements to achieve enlightenment and wisdom. Alchemists hope to transform themselves through its rituals and achieve a higher physical state, and alchemy's experimental nature has influenced the development of modern science. Magic and alchemy share a central philosophy, one that has had a great impact on the progress of Western society. This fascinating new book covers the history, practices, and philosophies of magic and alchemy in Western history, explaining their basic concepts, looking at the tools used by magicians and alchemists, and discussing the rituals associated with each. The chapters include: The Beginning of Magic; The Practice of Magic; The History of Alchemy; The Philosophy of Alchemy; the Synthesis of Magic, Alchemy, and Kabbalah; and, Magic and Alchemy Today.