The Legend of ‘Lapis Philosophorum’ aka the Philosopher Stone

Maria Anna van Driel
6 min readSep 30, 2021

By Maria Anna van Driel,

The concept of being able to turn metals into gold attracted the attention of many who saw the legend of the stone as a chance to make a fortune. And so, many of the world’s brilliant minds searched for the Philosopher’s Stone over the centuries including Robert Boyle who is considered the father of modern day chemistry.

There are many descriptions of the stones appearance. The most well-known being a red stone but it was also referred to as an orange stone. When the stone is in its solid form it often appears as a transparent and glass-like object in the shape of an egg. But there are many sources that believe the Philosopher’s Stone may not have even been a stone at all.

When searching for the stone, alchemists examined countless substances what has build the base knowledge for fields we know today as chemistry and pharmacology.

“Robert Boyle (25 January 1627–31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method.” Source Wikipedia

Understanding the Magnum Opus of the ‘Philosopher Stone’ in an alchemical has an overwhelming effect on some as it seems to have the power of showing the observer a transparent image of the perfection of his/her (in)sanity in the moment the code to this coveted key is revealing itself, spawn from a most unexpected corner of the mind.

Rudolf II, the king of bohemia, experienced a similar effect while searching for the stone and, so the legend says, the wealth it is promising. He found himself in financial difficulties and decided to invest heavily in the search for the Philosopher’s Stone. Large amounts of alchemists were funded and promised hefty rewards if they could find the secrets of the stone.

The story goes that king Rudolf was never able to find the stone and became insane in the process. It is not known if his madness was due to natural causes or the misuse of toxic remedies that he believed to be the philosopher’s stone.

The Philosopher’s Stone has intrigued scientists for centuries and even to this day remains a mystery.

When discussing the philosopher’s stone the one name you will not miss is Nicolas Flamel. Flamel was a French scribe and manuscript-seller who lived in Paris during the 14th and 15th century and, in 1382, claimed to have transformed lead into gold after decoding an ancient book of alchemy. We most likely will never know if this was true. However the historical record show that Flamel did come into considerable wealth around the time he made his claim but donated all of his riches to charity.

The medieval kitchen of alchemy aka ‘Physical chemistry’

The commencement of deciphering this ‘key’ is the dismembering of the word ALCHEMY; Al-Khemet means ‘From Egypt’, Khemet means ‘Black’, Khem means ‘chem’ or ‘chemical’

Later in history this ancient Egyptian word Al-Khemet has been translated into ‘the black art through Alchemy’ a term many might know today as the medieval and dangerous ‘black magic’. Even it is being thought by some that a Pagan mystery as such is spawned by the devil’s hand, less is true in this legend of the stone of the ancients.

Alchemy covers several properties, the first and the most well-known are the philosophical and proto-scientific traditions from Europe, Africa and Asia and was aimed at the purifying, maturing, and perfecting within certain objects and or elements.

In the philosophy of science, proto-science is a well known name for this ancient knowledge as its simplest meaning involves the earliest eras of the history of science, during the time this scientific method was embryonic.

In the late 17th , when the Philosopher’s Stone (Lapis philosophorum) was the most sought-after gold in the world of alchemy, and early 18th century, Sir Isaac Newton contributed to the dawning sciences of chemistry and physics. He was an alchemist who sought chrysopoeia in various ways including some that were unscientific.

Chrysopoeia is an alchemical term what symbolically indicates to the creation of the Philosopher Stone and the completion of ‘the Great Work’ or Magnum Opus, a personal and spiritual transmutation in the Hermic tradition.

The technology

Another property alchemy covers is less known as it points out to a scientific knowledge in ‘technology’. In alchemy, technology is associated with that of metallurgy. (the science of materials and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures which dates back to approximately 3500 BC)

The technology within alchemy does not speak of strange or advanced devices. It refers to the knowledge of purifying, creating and recreating of, and within, natural elements whereby certain chemical (chain)-reactions have the ability to result in the most remarkable outcomes like smokeless fire or neon colored plasma’s which might appear, to those who approach it with a form of fear, as magic, demonic or, the divine work of a god or goddess.

An earlier version of this coded knowledge in ‘transformations’ is better known as ‘The Book of Ra’. These writings from ancient dwelling places and mystical realms, were translated by many and turned out to contain an enlightening mystery what was meant for guiding those who were balancing on the edge between life and death, into a ‘spiritual immortality’ aka, life after death. These tree keys LifeDeath and Transformation are written in a mirrored manner; ‘life = death’ and ‘death = life’ and bears the well-known symbol of the Ouroboros what is representing the ‘transformation’ in both biological and synthetically elements.

This alchemical technology smeared out over the five corners of science, definitely has a deep impact on those who have the perseverance to walk a path of a non-sacred, non-secret and a non-fictive knowledge as it guides them towards the mysteries of ‘The Philosopher Stone’.

A microscopic view of a garnet grain that has grown in schist.

The roots of the philosopher stone

To ‘see’ the stunning revelation this ancient scientific knowledge, what tickles the curious mind for sure, one has to reduce this almost uncontrollable urge of searching for mysteries and legends and enter a boring but sense making reality of which some puzzle pieces lie within the Pyramids of Giza.

The Pyramids of Giza; to some they are just triangle shaped buildings standing already for thousands of centauries in the dry desert sand while erosion is slowly letting it disappear from our visible spectrum, to others they are containing the truth of being used as sacred burial places for Egyptian Queens and Pharaoh’s.

Unfortunately for the second group, these majestic buildings are, in a radiant manner, speaking of a significant knowing in chemical chain reactions as they are revealing a deeper understanding of the cosmos by showing the Tetrahedron what is, together with the octahedron and the icosahedrons, considered to be the fundamental building block of the Universe.

Exploring the grounds of these, build in a rich era of early science and complex believe systems, ancient ruins, we take our position in the Grant Gallery of the pyramid of Khufu whereas our mind is absorbing the ingenious engineering what, after a few minutes, is revealing a secret that lies hidden in the structures of the Limestone.

These well-thought out, and over time perfected, chemical reactions, which are dealing with i.e. radioactivity, nuclear processes and transmutations in elements, is what can be found in these blackened walls of the Grant Gallery. It tells you a weird story of a natural process in alpha decay, light scattering and free floating H4 atoms happening in the Grant Gallery what is slowly converting the Limestone into Graphite.

These chemical reactions, as well as the mild radioactive heat, are giving the walls of the Grant Gallery the ability of creating Schist what not only has an appearance of being gold or coppery, it is also acting as a host for a variety of Gemstones whereby can be thought of i.e. Garnet, Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald.

It is in this weird story of natural chemical and nuclear reactions and spiritual transformations, the well-known legend of the medieval Philosopher Stone might have found its original birth.



Maria Anna van Driel

In 2020 I realized I was trapped in a toxic relationship since '00. In Aug. '22 I found the strength to break away, flip my life to become a psychotherapist.