The word 'magic' evokes many ideas, from a stage magician performing illusions to the pyrotechnics of witches and wizards depicted in movies and on television. But there is a more practical definition of magic - the attempt to affect the real world, one's self, or other people by tapping into mental abilities and unseen mystical forces. The keys to doing this have been closely guarded in the past, leading to the perception of magic as an occult pursuit.
Yet, magic and magical traditions have existed in some form in almost every culture throughout history. Similarly, alchemy is a form of magic that involves harnessing the elements to achieve enlightenment and wisdom. Alchemists hope to transform themselves through its rituals and achieve a higher physical state, and alchemy's experimental nature has influenced the development of modern science.