In this present study of alchemy the author has taken a particular example of symbol-formation, extending in all over some seventeen centuries, and have subjected it to intensive examination, linking it at the same time with an actual series of dreams recorded by a modern European not under his direct supervision and having no knowledge of what the symbols appearing in the dreams might mean. --- from the publisher
Readers . . . who believe that medieval and early modern alchemy was only a misguided effort to transform base metals into gold, or at best a crude preparation for scientific chemistry, will experience a great and probably bewildering surprise.