Alchemy is a precursor to chemistry. It is well known that the quest for the philosphers stone is as much a spirtual quest as it was scientific. Unbeknownst to alchemists at the time, gold is an element, and therefore cannot be produced by combining any other elements.
Symbolism of alchemy
The symbolism of alchemy is rich and employs many western and eastern traditions. Some of the important symbols of alchemy are Solomons seal, the hermaphrodite, and the four Elements of wind, fire, earth and, water. These symbols are said to be from the period of the legendary alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, founder of the Hermitic arts. These and the other symbols of alchemy are regarded as having pschological signifigance by Carl Jung, contemporary of Sigmund Freud.