To the scientist the aim of alchemy seems only to be the transmutation of base metals into gold. Though some alchemists were concerned solely with this, many were serious and dedicated thinkers who used alchemical symbols and ideas to probe religious, philosophical and psychological issues.

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Haiku is a form of poetry which is written in seventeen syllables. Each poem contains a word that refers to the season described in the haiku. The following haiku are by the three greatest haiku poets of Japan. (All translations are by R. H. Blyth)

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Song of Myself


I am beginning to weave my life
keep track of my themes and dreams
and work on myself inside
and win a soldier’s ribbon
which I’ll wear proudly when
I’ve won some battle
against myself

Keep track of my responses and motives,
and my occasional need for guidance
build that altar of strength with symbols of my wise alter-egos…
And decide upon the Cult
to which I  would like to belong,
the cult I would invent in an ideal world

and become its member