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Alchemy is an ancient tradition, the primary objective of which was the creation of the mythical "philosopher's stone," which was said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver, and also act as an elixir of life that would confer youth and immortality upon its user. Alchemy can be viewed as a protoscience, a precursor to modern chemistry, having provided procedures, equipment, and terminology that are still in use. However, alchemy also included various non-scientific mythological, religious, and spiritual concepts, theories and practices.
The best known goals of the alchemists were the transmutation of common metals into Gold or Silver, and the creation of a "panacea," a remedy that supposedly would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely; and the discovery of a universal solvent. Although these were not the only uses for the discipline, they were the ones most documented and well-known. Starting with the Middle Ages, Persian and European alchemists invested much effort in the search for the philosopher's stone, a legendary substance that was believed to be an essential ingredient for either or both of those goals.
Modern discussions of alchemy are generally split into an examination of its exoteric practical applications, and its esoteric aspects. The former is pursued by historians of the physical sciences who have examined the subject in terms of proto-chemistry, medicine, and charlatanism. The latter is of interest to the historians of esotericism, psychologists, spiritual and new age communities, and hermetic philosophers. The subject has also made an ongoing impact on literature and the arts. Despite the modern split, numerous sources stress an integration of esoteric and exoteric approaches to alchemy. Holmyard, when writing on exoteric aspects, states that they can not be properly appreciated if the esoteric is not always kept in mind. The prototype for this model can be found in Bolos of Mendes' second century BCE work, Physika kai Mystika (On Physical and Mystical Matters). Marie-Louise von Franz tells us the double approach of Western alchemy was set from the start, when Greek philosophy was mixed with Egyptian and Mesopotamian technology. The technological, operative approach, which she calls extraverted, and the mystic, contemplative, psychological one, which she calls introverted are not mutually exclusive, but complementary instead, as meditation requires practice in the real world, and conversely.
Archaeoastronomy (also spelled archeoastronomy) is the study of how people in the past "have understood the phenomena in the sky how they used phenomena in the sky and what role the sky played in their cultures." Clive Ruggles argues it is misleading to consider archaeoastronomy to be the study of ancient astronomy, as modern astronomy is a scientific discipline, while archaeoastronomy considers other cultures' symbolically rich cultural interpretations of phenomena in the sky. It is often twinned with ethnoastronomy, the anthropological study of skywatching in contemporary societies. Archaeoastronomy is also closely associated with historical astronomy, the use of historical records of heavenly events to answer astronomical problems and the history of astronomy, which uses written records to evaluate past astronomical practice.
Archaeoastronomy uses a variety of methods to uncover evidence of past practices including archaeology, anthropology, astronomy, statistics and probability, and history. Because these methods are diverse and use data from such different sources, the problem of integrating them into a coherent argument has been a long-term issue for archaeoastronomers.
Archaeoastronomy fills complementary niches in landscape archaeology and cognitive archaeology. Material evidence and its connection to the sky can reveal how a wider landscape can be integrated into beliefs about the cycles of nature , such as Mayan astronomy and its relationship with agriculture. Other examples which have brought together ideas of cognition and landscape include studies of the cosmic order embedded in the roads of settlements.
Archaeoastronomy can be applied to all cultures and all time periods. The meanings of the sky vary from culture to culture; nevertheless there are scientific methods which can be applied across cultures when examining ancient beliefs. It is perhaps the need to balance the social and scientific aspects of archaeoastronomy which led Clive Ruggles to describe it as: "...[A] field with academic work of high quality at one end but uncontrolled speculation bordering on lunacy at the other."
Artificial Intelligence > Natural Language
Astronomy > Alternative Astronomy
Otherkin are a community of people who identify themselves as non-human in all but outward form, contending that they are, in spirit if not in body, creatures traditionally associated with mythology or folklore. Belief in otherkin is related to the changeling concept.
The therian, vampire, and draconic subcultures are related to the otherkin community somewhat, and are considered part of it by most otherkin, but are culturally distinct movements of their own despite some overlap in membership.
Some may claim to be able to shapeshift mentally — meaning that they may experience the sense of being in their particular form while not actually changing physically. The existence of Otherkin is variably explained as being made possible through reincarnation, having a nonhuman soul, ancestry, or symbolic metaphor.
Otherkin identify with familiar creatures from mythology, folklore and religion along with various terrestrial animals: angels, demons, dragons, elves, fairies, sprites, aliens.
The oldest Internet resource for otherkin is the Elfinkind Digest; a mailing list started in 1990 by a student at the University of Kentucky for "elves and interested observers". Also in the early 1990s, newsgroups such as alt.horror.werewolves and alt.fan.dragons on Usenet, which were initially created for fans of these creatures in the context of fantasy and horror literature and films, also developed followings of individuals who identified as mythological beings.
On 6 February 1995, a document titled the "Elven Nation Manifesto" was posted to Usenet, including the groups alt.pagan and alt.magick. On Usenet itself, the document was universally panned and considered to be either a troll or an attempt to frame an innocent party. However, enough people contacted the original author of the Elven Nation post in good faith for a planned mailing list to spin off from it.
The modern otherkin subculture grew out of these elven online communities of the early-to-mid-1990s, with the earliest recorded use of the term otherkin appearing in July of 1990 and the variant otherkind being reported as early as April 1990.
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Psychic > Pre-Birth Communication
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